Jakarta (ANTARA) - The recent Banten earthquake has signaled the potential of a Sunda Strait megathrust earthquake that could reach 8.7 in magnitude, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) has said.

The 6.6-magnitude quake that hit Banten at 4:15 p.m. local time on January 14, 2022, is a reminder that Indonesia is in a zone vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, BRIN engineer Widjo Kongko said here on Tuesday.

"The Banten earthquake reminded the potential of (the earthquake) threat in southern Java, Sunda Strait, Sumatra, and its megathrusts," Kongko added.

The Banten earthquake happened in a seismic gap zone, or a zone that previously had not shown any seismic activity, he pointed out. However, the earthquake centered in the Sunda Strait on Friday did not trigger a tsunami, he added.

According to Kongko, there is a likelihood of the Sunda Strait, Enggano, and the West-Central Java megathrust segments setting off a large quake.

If the megathrust earthquakes happen at the same time, their magnitude can reach 9.0 and above on the Richter scale, he noted. The magnitude of the likely earthquake is likely to be the same as the 2004 Aceh earthquake and tsunami, he said.

However, scientifically, because the sea depth at the earthquake source would be deeper than the 2004 disaster, the tsunami waves would be higher than during the Aceh quake, Kongko added.

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Nevertheless, he advised the public not to panic but work with the local government or the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) to increase mitigation efforts.

It is necessary to prepare disaster mitigation programs, including mapping out threats and at-risk locations in each area, preparing shelters, and conducting simulations of tsunami response, he said.

He further expressed the hope that the use of the Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning System (InaTEWS) would be optimized.

Related news: Numerous aftershocks do not indicate probability of major quake: BMKG

Translator: Martha S, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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