Indonesia twin quakes horizontal or vertical?

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 11, 2012 Published on April 11, 2012

The mega quake of M8.6 southwest of Indonesia and a matching aftershock may have represented the twin peaks of the 'bustle' beneath the ocean bed reported from January this year.

An M7.2 set off the train of events that has since seen quite a number of events of M4.5 and above in and around the Indonesian archipelago.

But scientists that Business Line spoke to have not been able to pinpoint the nature of the latest mega-twins in terms of their potential to generate a tsunami that could range from being a minor ripple to a devastating wave.

They are not able to confirm whether the plate movement was horizontal (strike-slip) or vertical (mega thrust). The threat of a devastating tsunami is discounted in the first case while it is written all over in the case of the latter.

A top scientist from the National Disaster Management Authority was of the view that the Indonesian belt was known for mega thrust events. Viewed from this angle the threat of tsunami is real.

But not all of the events of this size are of this type. In fact, the US Geological Survey went on record saying that the original M8.6 event might have been a strike-slip event, and, hence, no case of a devastating tsunami.

That no significant wave movement has been reported from anywhere along the country's coast at the time of going to press should go to support the USGS analysis, another scientist said.

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Published on April 11, 2012
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