Experts said that the fault that ruptured yesterday off Sumatra island’s coast also caused the 2004 quake and the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 12 countries.
The head of the health ministry’s crisis centre in Jakarta said that 113 bodies had been recovered so far. The number of missing is pegged at 500. Many of those missing might have taken refuge in higher ground.
Rescue workers are battling rough seas Tuesday to reach remote Indonesian islands pounded by the 3.5 meter (10-foot) tsunami that swept away homes.
Information was only beginning to trickle in from the sparsely populated surfing destination, so casualties were expected to rise.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a series of fault lines stretching from the western hemisphere through Japan and south-east Asia.