Two near-simultaneous earthquakes hit Indonesia's Aceh, some flee homes in panic

Saturday, November 18th 2006, 10:00 pm
By: News On 6

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) Two moderate earthquakes within two minutes on Saturday rocked Aceh on the northwestern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra Island, prompting panicked residents to flee their homes.

No casualties or damages were immediately reported in the area, which was the hardest hit, by a December 26, 2004 tsunami triggered by a massive undersea earthquake. The quake did not trigger a tsunami but traumatized residents fled their homes immediately after they felt the jolts. They returned after about an hour.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the two magnitude-5.8 tremors were centered 31 and 35 miles beneath the Indian Ocean, 60 miles southwest of the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

A magnitude-9 earthquake triggered the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 131,000 people in Aceh province and left a half-million homeless.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific ``Ring of Fire,'' an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.