Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UU Scientists Issue Indonesia Earthquake Warning


The stresses in the earth’s crust which have resulted from the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake have significantly increased the risk of another large earthquake in the already-devastated Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to new research findings by scientists from the University of Ulster’s School of Environmental Sciences.

According to their calculations, published in this week’s edition of leading scientific journal Nature, the Christmas 2004 earthquake which generated the massive tsunami which hit Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka and killed 300,000 people, has significantly increased the stress on two other fault zones in the area - one of them running directly under the city of Banda Aceh which was so badly effected by the Boxing day event - the other under the sea off the west coast of Sumatra.

The latter could generate another tsunami.

The University of Ulster team, led by Professor John McCloskey of the School of Environmental Sciences, analysed data from the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake to look at its impact on other faults in the area. The analysis process is described in the Notes For Editors below.

The analysis found two zones showing significantly increased levels of stress - one in the Sunda trench, a 50km-long underwater zone off the northern tip of Sumatra, and the other in the Sumatra fault, which runs for 300km along the centre of the island of Sumatra, ending under the city of Banda Aceh.

“Our results show a stress increase of up to 5 bars in the Sunda trench next to the rupture zone, and a strong positive loading of 9 bars for 300km of the Sumatra fault,” said Professor McCloskey.

These levels of seismic stress indicate significantly increased risk of an earthquake, said Professor McCloskey. Previous work on the earthquakes on the Sunda trench show that it has produced large (up to M8.5) earthquakes and two in 1833 and 1861 produced fatal tsunamis.

An earthquake in the Sumatra fault might be expected to have a magnitude up to about M7.5, but because it is not underwater, would not cause a tsunami.

“We have all heard that lightning does not strike twice in the same place -but earthquakes do’ he said. ‘One of the strongest observations in seismology is that earthquakes cluster in space and time. Where you have one earthquake you are likely to have others.”

How sure are we that another event will occur? “We do know that the increase in stress is real and that ultimately it is stress that causes earthquakes. This much is sure. There is a strong relationship between these results and the probability of another earthquake in Indonesia.

“Unfortunately, we do not yet know how this relationship works out in detail. The mapping is certainly not one-to-one.’ said Professor McCloskey.

But we can learn a lot from other examples, he said.

“The recent destructive earthquake at Izmit in Turkey (magnitude 7.4) was probably triggered by stress increases of less than two bars over an area of about 50km. It in turn triggered another earthquake (magnitude 7.1) at Düzce, just three months later. Again, the stresses were on the order of a couple of bars. Our calculations show that the stresses on the Sumatra fault increase to about 9 bars near the city of Banda Aceh. The stress remains positive for about 300 km to the south. These stresses are big and extensive,” he said.

In the wake of their findings, the UU team have added their voices to the calls for a tsunami early-warning system to be put in place in the Indian Ocean as a matter of urgency. “The loss of much of the life in the December earthquake was avoidable. The science is well understood, the warning systems are in place in the Pacific region The levels of preparedness, public awareness and education in this region are high and do save lives. Unfortunately the people of the Indian Ocean region have neither benefited from this knowledge nor from the available technology,” said Professor McCloskey.

“Our results indicate unambiguously that there is a real danger of another earthquake in the region. It is vital that disaster fatigue does not delay the implementation of the Circum Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System.”

Recent information indicates that the German government has allocated €40m to putting this system in place.

David Young | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>