1,040 quakes in West Papua's Sorong district in 2020: BMKG

1,040 quakes in West Papua's Sorong district in 2020: BMKG

A graphic showing the location of a recent earthquake in West Papua. (ANTARA/bmkg.go.id)

Sorong, W Papua (ANTARA) - The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Sorong office, recorded 1,040 earthquakes in various parts of West Papua province in 2020, with 27 quakes jolting the province in the month of September alone.

The average magnitudes of the earthquakes that intensively rattled West Papua in September, 2020 was recorded at three and four, the agency's head, Rully Hermawan, said here on Wednesday.

Sorong district is vulnerable to earthquakes as it lies on the Circum-Pacific Belt, also known as the Ring of Fire. Its vulnerability is also a result of the "Sorong fault”, which runs through the fault zone in Sulawesi Island, which triggered the Palu and Majene earthquakes.

Sorong district has repeatedly been rocked by strong earthquakes over the past decades. In 2009, for instance, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake jolted Manokwari district and triggered a tsunami in Ransiki town.

On September 26, 2015, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Sorong district's Tanjung Kasuari, Hermawan said.

"This reality needs to be responded to cautiously. We must stay alert, but we do not need to get panicked," he remarked.

Earthquakes regularly strike various parts of Indonesia since the country lies on the Circum-Pacific Belt, where several tectonic plates meet and cause frequent volcanic and seismic activity.

This year, two strong earthquakes rattled several parts of Sulawesi Island in eastern Indonesia.

On January 15, 2021, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, followed by several aftershocks, rattled the districts of Majene and Mamuju in West Sulawesi, claiming 81 lives.

Meanwhile, the deadliest earthquake was reported in Central Sulawesi on September 28, 2018. The magnitude of the earthquake was recorded at 7.4, and it was followed by a tsunami that ravaged Palu City and the districts of Donggala, Paringi Moutong, and Sigi.

The catastrophe claimed 2,102 lives, left 4,612 people injured, and rendered 680 others missing. A total of 68,451 homes were seriously damaged, while 78,994 people were displaced by the disaster.

The authorities and humanitarian workers had to resort to burying the large number of rotting corpses in mass graves.

Meanwhile, material losses inflicted by the twin deadly disasters were estimated to be Rp15.29 trillion.

The provincial capital of Palu bore the brunt of the disaster, with material damage and losses recorded at Rp7.6 trillion, or 50 percent of the total estimate, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

The material damage and losses in Sigi district were recorded at Rp4.9 trillion, or 32.1 percent of the total estimate; Donggala district Rp2.1 trillion, or 13.8 percent; and Parigi Moutong district Rp631 billion, or 4.1 percent.

The material damage in the four affected areas reached an estimated Rp13.27 trillion, while the material losses were reportedly around Rp2.02 trillion, the agency revealed in October, 2018. (INE)

Related news: Two quakes hit Papua
Related news: 4.7-magnitude quake shakes W Papua's Kaimana