SURABAYA, KOMPAS.com – A 6.1 Richter scale earthquake has struck the Indonesian province of East Java on Saturday afternoon, killing eight people and injuring 25 others. The earthquake, whose epicenter is 96 kilometers off the Malang regency, did not set off a tsunami warning.
“Five of the fatalities are from the Lumajang regency, while three are from the Malang regency” said Regional Mitigation Agency [BPBD] branch for East Java Gatot Subroto. “Most of them have been killed by buildings toppled by the earthquake or rubble.”
He added that the 10 of the injured are from Lumajang regency, while eight others are from Blitar regency.
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Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency or BMKG Earthquake and Tsunami Mitigation head Daryono noted that “the earthquake was traced to a depth of 25 kilometers offshore the town of Kepanjen in Malang regency,” he said.
“The earthquake was caused by friction between the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates. The tremors would have caused a tsunami if it occurred at lower depths or at higher magnitudes, but that did not happen.”
Aside from East Java, Daryono noted that the earthquake was felt in other Indonesian areas, among them the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa in East Nusa Tenggara province, and the provinces of Bali, Central Java and Yogyakarta.
He attributed this to the earthquake’s deep hypocenter. Another earthquake occurred off the Sangihe islands of North Sulawesi province. As with East Java, the earthquake is not deep or have enough magnitude to set off a tsunami.
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The BMKG also warned East Java not to let its guard down, as the earthquake’s aftereffects and forecasted extreme weather leave the province vulnerable to more natural disasters.
“The earthquake has shifted the slopes on mountains and other higher ground. If they are hit by light to heavy rains, it will cause landslides, flash floods, high winds, falling trees, and other natural disasters,” said BMKG head Dwikorita Karnamati.
Indonesia is located on the Indo-Pacific Ring of Fire, a geographical area that is vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.
(Writers :Achmad Faizal, Surabaya Contributor, Ellyvon Pranita | Editors: Teuku Muhammad Valdy Arief, Holy Kartika Nurwigati Sumartiningtyas)
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