The 6.6 magnitude quake struck at 7:27 a.m. local time and was centered in Aceh province, about 17 miles northeast of the town of Sinabang.
The victim was a 70-year-old man who died of a heart attack as he fled in panic.
The violent shaking startled many who had gathered for pre-dawn meals and prayers during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
Twenty buildings were damaged, including mosques, public health centers, schools and local government offices, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Agency.
Shaking was felt as far away as the west coast of the Malay Peninsula.
Residents of northwest Sumatra are still deeply traumatized by the massive 2004 earthquake and tsunami disaster that struck on December 26.
Nearly half of the 230,000 victims of that catastrophe across the Indian Ocean basin perished in Aceh.