Quakes Rock Pacific Islands

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October 1, 2009—A second earthquake shook western Indonesia Thursday as the death toll rose above 500 from Wednesday's powerful quake. Plus, see a computer simulation of Tuesday's Samoan quake and the resulting tsunami waves.

© 2009 National Geographic (AP)

Unedited Transcript

A womanalive--- is pulled from the rubble of a hotel in Padang, Indonesia.

The brunt of Wednesday's 7.6-magnitude earthquake, which originated in the sea off Sumatra Island, appeared to have been borne by Padang.

The death toll throughout Indonesia is over 700 and thousands are homeless.

The region was jolted by another powerful earthquake Thursday morning, causing damage but no currently reported fatalities.

More than 500 buildings including hotels, schools, hospitals and a mall were destroyed or damaged in Padang. Thousands of people were believed to be trapped in the rubble.

This young man was rescued from a collapsed building. SOUNDBITE: (Indonesian) Donny Hariyanto, Quake Victim: "The quake was very powerful and devastating. Thanks to God, I have only been rescued this morning from the quake that happened yesterday."

Here, a fire burns out of control following the quake.

The quake was so powerful that it caused buildings to sway hundreds of miles away in Malaysia and Singapore. In Padang, as the Wednesday quake struck, thousands of frantic residents fled in cars and motorbikes, honking horns. They feared the quake would trigger a tsunami, but no giant waves struck.

In Samoa and American Samoa, they are cleaning up from tsunami waves that struck and flooded oceanside villages following a powerful undersea earthquake Tuesday. Video recording as tsunami waves hit American Samoa, the photographer said prayers, knowing that lives were in peril.

In this Samoan seaside village, the countrys prime minister said at least 15 houses were swept away. This woman lost her 4 children in the waves.

SOUNDBITE: (English) Ula Taa Milo, Tsunami Victim: "Samoa needs help because all of our houses are damaged and everything, so please, we need your help urgently."

At least 120 people died in South Pacific islands from the tsunami waves.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration created a computer simulation of the Samoan earthquakes effects on the Pacific Ocean,. The tsunami waves were most damaging closest to the quake. But they did impact beaches up to 15 hours later, and stretched the entire breadth of the worlds largest ocean.

Experts claim it generated waves that raced toward American Samoa at speeds as fast as a jumbo jet.

It all started with a type of earthquake that tends to generate strong tsunamis because one tectonic plate is moving against another.

American Samoa was close to the epicenter, about 125 miles, and the earthquake occurred at a depth of 6 miles, which was deep enough to allow the waves to race across the ocean.

Put that all together and there was less than 25 minutes between the ground shaking and the first tremendous waves swamping the beaches of Samoa.

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