Friday, September 14, 2007

Tsunami fears

Back on September 6 there was a media warning here, Next killer tsunami overdue. Over the past few days I’ve received a dozen or more email alerts from the USGS on a series of quakes and aftershocks around Indonesia. You can sign up for the alerts here.

Despite the damage from the quakes the feared tsunamis have not materialised yet. However in the densely inhabited Indonesian archipelago the damage is still heartrending:

(Reuters) - Aftershocks shook Indonesia's Sumatra island on Thursday, a day after an 8.4 magnitude quake, the world's most powerful so far this year, hit an area southwest of Bengkulu killing at least eight people and burying many more under buildings.

There are some incredible tectonic dynamics occurring on this side of the world, the Indo-Australian Plate, actually two plates fused together are beginning to break apart. Across the Indian Ocean a new sea is said to be forming, based on the Rift Valley in Africa and the Middle East.

Scientists say “the region experienced a magnitude 9 quake on average every 500 years. However, smaller quakes could strike every century. "There is no question there will, some day, be a large quake ... if the next one is a magnitude 8, it is already overdue.”

Well the next one was over magnitude 8 and we are watching with trepidation.


reality-based educator said...

I experienced a 5.9 earthquake in the northwest that was about 40 miles from where I lived. Still - it scared the hell out of me. An 8 or 8.5 must be insane.

Anonymous said...

The plate is actually breaking up? Not simply forming a divergent boundary?

Around here, we're seeing a lot of activity on the Hayward fault (the "other" big fault in Norther California). 5 quakes all at the same location, same depth, and in the same magnitude range in the last 4 months.

Kathy said...

I've never experienced an earthquake and never hope to, but it does instill in me a deep respect for nature.

Cartledge said...

I became fascinated when I was living on the edge of the Juan De Fuca plate in Canada. The Australian plate is very stable, with some quakes but no massive danger,
In fact it is the tsunami threat that is more of a worry.
I'm with kathy, a deep respect for nature.
thanks all