Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UU Scientists Issue Indonesia Earthquake Warning

17.03.2005


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:
http://www.ulster.ac.uk

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>