Powerful earthquake in Indian Ocean, no tsunami threat

PORT BLAIR, June 28, 2008 (AFP) – A powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck off India’s Andaman islands in the Indian Ocean on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said.

The Andaman and Nicobar chain of 536 islands, 58 of them inhabited, was badly hit by the 2004 tsunami, with hundreds dead and more than 3,000 still officially listed as missing.

The local disaster management office said Saturday’s quake was the sixth to be felt since the one late Friday — a figure confirmed by USGS.

Port Blair resident Bharati Raja said many people spent Friday night sleeping outdoors, too afraid to go back in.

Last year, India launched a tsunami warning system designed to detect all earthquakes above a 6.0 magnitude in the Indian Ocean within 20 minutes. The epicentre of the quake was 140 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Port Blair, the capital of the islands.

It struck at a depth of 35 kilometres, the USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did not issue an alert for the quake, which followed one with a 6.6 magnitude in the same region on Friday.

“There is no immediate report of damage or destruction,” Chhering Targay, the archipelago’s civ