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Why a major tsunami is unlikely

An 8.6-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's coast but a major tsunami is unlikely. Here's why.

world Updated: Apr 11, 2012 21:16 IST

Earthquake strikes: An 8.6-magnitude earthquake and an 8.2-aftershock have hit off Indonesia's western coast, but a major tsunami is unlikely.

Why no tsunami? These two quakes were strike-slip quakes, which cause a horizontal tearing movement that does not displace the seabed, meaning the chances of a tsunami are low.

Japan: The earthquake that triggered a tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan last year was a thrust earthquake. This kind of quake causes the sea bed to flip up, dispersing large volumes of water.

Magnitude: The magnitude of the Japan quake was also greater at 9.0, it was about four times more powerful than Wednesday's quake. The 9.1-magnitude quake off Indonesia in 2004, which triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people, was five times more powerful.