vehicles destroyed by the March 2011 earthqua
vehicles destroyed by the March 2011 earthqua Reuters

The U.S. Geological Survey has posted tsunami warnings following a giant 8.9 Richter scale earthquake off the coast of Indonesia but said the horizontal direction of waves may spare landed areas from destructive damage.

The magnitude of the earthquake was almost as large as the 9.1 quake in Indonesia in 2004 that caused the deaths of nearly a quarter of a million of people.

Wednesday’s quake struck approximately 300 miles southwest of Sumatra and a depth of 20 miles. Indonesia is located in what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire that is subject to volcanoes and strong earthquakes.

The tremors were felt in Thailand, India and Malaysia where the Associated Press reported that a high-rise apartment building shook.

Tsunami warnings were posted in Southeast Asia. Earthquake activity in the sea could cause high tides and flooding as far away as the United States.