Largest Undersea Quake Recorded in Sumatra

April 17, 2012 | Current Events, Natural Disasters

(Photo: cnn.com)

An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.6 in Richter scale hit Sumatra on April 11, 2012 and it has been considered as the largest recorded undersea quake, extending to the earth’s mantle.

Indonesia was once again reminded of its terrible past when a massive earthquake rocked the seas 346 kilometers south of Aceh. The fear of tsunami can still be seen and felt in the place as hundreds of people rushed for higher grounds in Banda Aceh. Tsunami warning was immediately issued to places near the Indian Ocean  while majority of the ports were temporarily closed.

It’s really surprising that despite the intensity, the country had not experienced the monster tsunami similar to 2004, which has reached up to more than ten stories high and killed almost 300,000 people.  In  2004,  the massive size of the ocean floor was pushed upwards in such a powerful force, disturbing the water and creating a mammoth wave. On the other hand, the movement of the recent earthquake was from side to side. In lay man’s term, it’s just like two people rubbing each other’s elbow and the other person did not dive in causing the other person to be thrust upward.

Banda Aceh was still recovering from the catastrophe when scenes of the recent tragedy were suddenly brought to life as the ground shook terribly.  According to some witnesses, people flocked to the streets and scurried to a safe, elevated place. The recent earthquake showed the authorities’ lack of preparation and organization to respond immediately in these kinds of situation. Panic and traffic jams are everywhere; it could have been equally devastating like the past earthquake had the tsunami struck.

It’s close to a miracle that no tsunami ensued. Some said prayers can be heard from Banda Aceh and that this might have averted the impending disaster.  Still, dozens of people suffered from minor injuries and two people have died of heart attack. The damage from the said earthquake is currently being assessed. People were glad that India hadn’t suffered that much from another catastrophe. Only five people were killed during the earthquake.

If the tectonic plates collide and the other would have been subducted beneath the other, the registered magnitude of the earthquake would have created a significant size of tsunami taking the whole country by surprise for a second time around. Although the people still did not have enough preparation for tsunami due to economic reasons, nations from around the world appreciated the vigilance and the response taken by the authority. The earthquake had passed them without causing any major damage and casualties.

The authorities were able to evacuate majority of the tourist although there are some inevitable incidents that caused a little bit of panic among the tourists. Beaches were evacuated safely and it seems that resort owners and businesses have already made preparations whenever similar disaster would strike. Authorities closed some of the ports and airports as a precautionary measure and the tsunami warning was immediately issued in advance giving the tourist plenty of time to flee from the coastal areas.

It is undeniable that the nation is prone to earthquake due to its location. The nation sits in a series of fault lines making them vulnerable to seismic activities. In the past three years the country has made some preparations by putting up warning systems. Despite the preparations that have been made, it has been found out that some of the warning devices were vandalized and stolen, due to lack of orientation and education among the citizens. Another factor is the lack of training among the personnel which may be contributed to the lack of budget.

The recent earthquake is again a wakeup call to a lot of countries to make some significant contributions to their science research and developments for a better tsunami warning. The country was really thankful saying that despite the efforts and preparations made for tsunami warnings, they admit that they are still incapable and not fully equipped to tackle major disasters.

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