Why was Indonesia’s shallow quake so deadly?

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A 5.6 magnitude earthquake remaining more than 260 dead and hundreds injured as buildings crumbled and terrified inhabitants ran for their life on Indonesia’s key island of Java.

Bodies continued to be pulled from the particles on Tuesday early morning in the toughest-strike city of Cianjur, situated in the country’s most densely populated province of West Java and some 217 kilometers (135 miles) south of the cash, Jakarta. A number of persons are however missing.

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Though the magnitude would usually be envisioned to lead to gentle injury to properties and other structures, professionals say proximity to fault traces, the shallowness of the quake and insufficient infrastructure that are unable to stand up to earthquakes all contributed to the damage.

This is a closer search at the earthquake and some reasons why it brought about so substantially devastation:



The US Geological Study stated the quake late Monday afternoon measured 5.6 magnitude and struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

Quakes of this size normally really don’t lead to popular harm to well-built infrastructure. But the agency points out, “There is not a single magnitude above which problems will arise. It depends on other variables, this sort of as the length from the earthquake, what sort of soil you are on, building construction and other variables.

Dozens of properties have been weakened in Indonesia, which include Islamic boarding colleges, a healthcare facility and other public facilities. Also destroyed were being roads and bridges, and areas of the location knowledgeable energy blackouts.


SO WHY DID THE QUAKE Induce SO A great deal Problems?

Professionals said proximity to fault strains, the depth of the temblor and structures not getting manufactured utilizing earthquake-proof solutions had been elements in the devastation.

“Even though the earthquake was medium-sized, it (was) shut to the surface … and found inland, shut to where by folks are living,” explained Gayatri Marliyani, an assistant geology professor at Universitas Gadjah Mada, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. “The power was continue to significant plenty of to result in important shaking that led to problems.”

The worst-influenced region is near to various regarded faults, Marliyani claimed.

A fault is a put with a very long split in the rock that types the floor of the earth. When an earthquake occurs on one particular of these faults, the rock on just one aspect of the fault slips with respect to the other.

“The space likely has the most inland faults compared to the other elements of Java,” explained Marliyani.

She additional that when some very well-known faults are in the area, there are quite a few other energetic faults that are not well analyzed.

A lot of structures in the area are also not crafted with quake-proof designs, which more contributed to the problems, claimed Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, an earthquake geology pro at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Geotechnology Investigate Heart.

“This helps make a quake of this dimension and depth even a lot more damaging,” he mentioned.



The place of additional than 270 million people is usually struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis since of its area on the arc of volcanoes and fault traces in the Pacific Basin recognised as the “Ring of Fire.” The area spans some 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) and is the place a vast majority of the world’s earthquakes arise.

Several of Indonesia’s earthquakes are minimal and cause small to no harm. But there have also been deadly earthquakes.

In February, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at minimum 25 men and women and hurt much more than 460 in West Sumatra province. In January 2021, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed extra than 100 folks and hurt approximately 6,500 in West Sulawesi province.

A impressive Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed 230,000 people in a dozen international locations, most of them in Indonesia.


The Linked Push Wellness and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Healthcare Institute’s Office of Science Education and learning. The AP is only responsible for all information.

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