A 7.9 magnitude earthquake has struck off the west coast of the island of Sumatra, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reports.

Indonesian officials issued a tsunami warning for the regions of West Sumatra, North Sumatra and Aceh.

Australia also issued a tsunami warning for Cocos Island and Christmas Island in the Pacific, which was later cancelled.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The earthquake was felt strongly in Padang for a few seconds, AFP reports, with people running out of their homes to higher ground.

Traffic ground to a halt and there was a sense of panic on the streets, the journalist said.

The quake struck at 6:50 p.m., local time. USGS seismologists, at first, estimated the earthquake’s magnitude at 8.3, then lowered their report to 7.9.

The epicentre was 502 miles southwest of Padang, and six miles deep, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

A resident of Mentawai, a chain of islands off Sumatra, told Metro TV: “I am at the beach currently looking to see any tsunami sign with my flashlight. There’s nothing. A few minutes have passed but nothing, but many people have already evacuated to higher places.”

In 2004, Indonesia was badly hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami on Christmas Day killing more than 200,000 people.

An 8.9 magnitude quake opened a fault line deep beneath the ocean triggering a wave as high as 57 feet that crashed ashore in more than a dozen countries.

Indonesia rests on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a highly seismically active zone that creates a large number of earthquakes.

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