Indonesia today was hit by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, which may generate a "destructive local tsunami,'' the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The tremor struck shortly before 10:28 p.m. local time off the coast of northern Sumatra near the island of Nias, the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors seismic events, said in a report on its Web site, putting the magnitude at 6.8.

"There is a very small possibility of a destructive local tsunami in the Indian Ocean,'' the Japanese agency said today in an e-mailed statement. It gave no further details.

Nias was one of the areas worst affected by the Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake and subsequent tsunami that destroyed coastal communities across the Indian Ocean and killed more than 200,000 people from Indonesia to Somalia.

The temblor struck at a depth of 1.9 kilometers, the USGS said. The epicenter was 269 kilometers (167 miles) southwest of Sibolga, on Sumatra, and 431 km south-southwest of Medan on the same island, the USGS said.

No tsunami threat exists in the Pacific, as a result of the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a separate e- mailed bulletin.

An Indian Ocean tsunami warning network is due to be operational by July. Countries around the ocean are installing monitoring equipment, buoys and communication links that will be known as the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System.