Quake shifted islands



LOS ANGELES: (Reuters) The massive earthquake which devastated parts of Asia permanently moved the tectonic plates beneath the Indian Ocean as much as 30 metres, slightly shifting islands near Sumatra an unknown distance, US scientists said.

Satellite images showed that the movement of undersea plates off the northern tip of Sumatra moved the Nicobar Islands and Si- meulue Island out to sea by an unknown distance, US Geological Survey geophysicist Ken Hudnut said yesterday.

Although the data showed that plates more than 20km beneath the ocean's surface moved dramatically, scientists will have to use handheld satellite positioning systems at the sites to learn precisely how much the land masses on the surface shifted, he said.



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