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7.6 Earthquake Strikes Bay of Bengal


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PORT BLAIR, India (Reuters) – A major quake of magnitude 7.6 struck in the Indian Ocean off India's Andaman Islands early on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami watch for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.

"The room shook for around 20 to 30 seconds, it was quite strong," said Reuters correspondent Sanjit Kumar Roy in Port Blair, capital of the islands.

He said that in the northern part of Andaman Island, people ran out of their houses in panic. Police said there had been no reports so far of any damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.7, struck at 1:55 a.m. (1955 GMT on Monday). It was shallow, at a depth of 20.6 miles, and was centered 160 miles north of Port Blair.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for the region.

"Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a destructive local tsunami and sometimes a destructive regional tsunami along coasts located usually no more than a thousand kilometers (about 600 miles) from the earthquake epicenter," the tsunami center said in its bulletin.

However, an official at the Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services said a tsunami warning had not been issued by his department.

"We have not issued a tsunami alert and are monitoring the water level changes in the region at the moment," Ajay Kumar told Reuters by phone.

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