Palu, C Sulawesi (ANTARA) - During the course of the past three months of 2023, Central Sulawesi Province experienced some 424 tectonic earthquakes, according to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

The frequency of earthquakes jolting the province tended to increase, as during the first three months of 2022, they were just recorded 167 times, according to Hendrik Leopatty, a seismologist at the Palu-based Geophysics Agency.

The epicenters of 236 of the 424 quakes were located some 200 kilometers away from Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi Province, while 15 quakes were categorized as "significant," and the locals could feel their tremors.

Referring to the seismic intensity, the BMKG noted that the most frequent occurrences were recorded in February, with 196 quakes, followed by 149 quakes in March and 78 quakes in January, Leopatty stated here Tuesday.

He further remarked that most earthquakes were categorized as "shallow", 73 quakes were categorized as "intermediate" and two others were categorized as "deep."

An earthquake is categorized as "shallow" if its depth is less than 60 km, while it is categorized as "intermediate" if its depth is above 60 km, and it is categorized as "deep" if its depth is above 300 km, he explained.

Despite the fact that most quakes that occurred in the first three months of this year were categorized as "shallow", their tremors did not cause damage, he pointed out.

Earthquakes frequently rock various parts of Indonesia since the country 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.

Deadly earthquakes have repeatedly hit Sulawesi Island. On September 28, 2018, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit several parts of Central Sulawesi Province.

The strong earthquake that was followed by a tsunami and soil liquefaction in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi Province, claimed 2,102 lives, injured 4,612, and rendered 680 others missing.

A total of 68,451 homes incurred serious damage, while 78,994 people were displaced.

The authorities and humanitarian workers decided to bury a large number of rotting corpses in mass graves.

Meanwhile, material losses inflicted by the twin deadly disasters were estimated to reach 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; Donggala District, at Rp2.1 trillion, or 13.8 percent; and Parigi Moutong District, at Rp631 billion, or 4.1 percent.

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 stated in October 2018.

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Translator: M.Ridwan, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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