Powerful Quake Strikes Off Indonesian Island

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WASHINGTON -- A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia early Wednesday morning, causing only a few injuries and some minor damage.

Wednesday's quake is the latest in a series of significant global tremors since the beginning of 2010.

Tsunami Warning

Residents of Sumatra, the largest of Indonesia's islands, were under a tsunami watch following a pre-dawn earthquake on Wednesday. After two hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center canceled the watch.

The temblor was centered about 127 miles northwest of Sumatra, 20 miles under the Indian Ocean, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

At least 12 people were injured by falling debris, four seriously, and dozens of homes damaged in northern Sumatra, according to the regional Disaster Management Agency.

"It lasted around four minutes," said a hotel manager in the city of Medan in northern Sumatra," ABC news reported. "It happened two times…at about 5:15 and 5:30 a.m.," he said.

"At present, we have checked all over the area. We haven't found any damage to the building," he said, adding that "the whole city also felt the same thing."

The 7.7-magnitude earthquake caused power outages and some panic on the island of Simeulue, west of Aceh province.

The incident served as chilling reminder of December 2004 when a 9.15 magnitude quake triggered a tsunami that killed more than a quarter of a million people.

Earthquakes on the Rise?

Wednesday's quake is the latest in a series of earthquakes registering magnitude 7 or above on the Richter scale with the most recent being a 7.2 in Baja California.

The Los Angeles Time's reports there have been more than 500 since Easter Sunday.

Just last month another 7.2 quake struck Chile - less than two weeks after a strong 8.8 temblor that killed hundreds and damaged half a million homes.

That incident followed Haiti's January 12 earthquake, which killed 200,000 Haitians and left more than a million homeless.

The U.S. Geological Survey has been bombarded with the same question from around the world: Are earthquakes on the rise?

Seismologists say not really.

Earthquakes of magnitude 7 or greater have remained fairly constant. Out of the thousands of major earthquakes expected each year, they say less than 20 will register 7 or above.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.