"The number of earthquakes that occurred in 2018 increased, from around six thousand on an average prior to 2018 to over 10 thousand on an average in 2018," Head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Dwikorita Karnawati stated here on Friday, Jan 11.
Several of the events related to the earthquakes that had hit Indonesia last year were never witnessed before, such as the liquefaction in Palu; tsunami that came earlier than the issuance of a tsunami warning in Palu; and the Sunda Strait Tsunami, she pointed out.
The Sunda Strait Tsunami, which struck certain coastal areas of the provinces of Banten and Lampung following the eruption of Mount Anak Krakatau on Dec 22, 2018, killed 437 people and seriously affected the lives of several residents in the disaster zones.
The deadly tsunami that hit the districts of Pandeglang, Serang, South Lampung, Tenggamus, and Pesawaran also caused injuries to 7,202 others and forced 34,817 people to take refuge.
The BMKG data showed that 11,577 earthquakes, with varying magnitudes and depths, hit during 2018, while just 7,172 earthquakes were recorded in 2017. This indicates that Indonesia bore witness to a significant increase in the number of tectonic earthquakes last year, Karnawati stated.
The agency recorded that the earthquakes, with less than five magnitude, dominated the occurrences, while those with magnitudes of over five were recorded at 297 instances, she remarked.
Indonesia lies on the Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as the Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates meet and cause frequent volcanic and seismic activities.
As a result, several parts of the archipelago are prone to earthquakes, as could be observed from last year`s deadly earthquakes in Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara Province, and Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi Province.
Reporting by Desi Purnamawati
Editing by Rahmad Nasution