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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Java Quake signals worse to come?

Ain't no getting outta Dodge anywhere?
Michael Mandeville <> wrote:
May 27, 2006 by MW Mandeville (Black Canyon City, Arizona)
BULLETIN ITEM: Java Quake May Signal A Soon To Come Huge Eruption of Merapi Volcano

MWM: Estimated dead are already 10 times this and may end up being another ten times higher. But my impression is that Indonesians build primarily with tropical woods, which means there are relatively few masonry buildings to crush people so the casualties should not be near what is typical in places like Iran. USGS reporting two 4.0 range aftershocks but not reporting much more in the way of aftershocks at the moment but these are likely to come within the next 48 hours. This quake was some 35 kilometers deep, quite deep, meaning that it was a major rupture, internal crustal "explosion" at the very root of the magma system which feeds Merapi. TO FEEL 6.5 AT THE SURFACE MEANS THAT WAS ONE MAJOR EVENT DOWN DEEP AT THE TECTONIC BOTTOM PLATE JOINTS WHERE THE ACTIVE SUBDUCTION IS TAKING PLACE THROUGH THE DEFORMATION OF THE CRUSTAL MATERIAL. It will take a while for the heat and gas flow to crack its way to the surface but within the next two weeks MUCH more is likely to come from Merapi, RAPIDLY A LOT OF LAVA EVENTUALLY, BUT THE COMING HEAT FLEX WILL PRECEDE IT AND MAY SUPERHEAT AND DISSOCIATE ENOUGH NEW GAS AND VAPOR IN THE ROCKS THAT THE INITIAL UPSURGE IN THE ERUPTION COULD BE QUITE EXPLOSIVE INDEED. MERIPI SHOULD BE EVACUATED FOR AT LEAST 40 KM ALL AROUND.

Powerful earthquake kills more than 300 in Indonesia
YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia,Reuters:
The quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale, rocked the densely-populated southern coast of Central Java

An earthquake that shook the area around the ancient royal city of Yogyakarta early today has killed at least 244 people and injured many more, according to hospital staff.

Most of the dead suffered severe head injuries and broken bones from collapsing buildings. Officials at six hospitals in and around Yogyakarta gave figures for the dead totalling 309 and said casualties were likely to continue rising. Yogyakarta is on Indonesia's main island of Java and near Mount Merapi, a volcano that has been on top alert for a major eruption this month. A vulcanologist in Yogyakarta said the quake was tectonic and not caused by the volcano, but the quake's impact could increase Merapi's activity. The epicentre of the quake -- which happened just before 6 am (0430 IST) and had a magnitude of 6.2, according to the US Geological Survey -- was offshore. Jakarta earthquake centre official Fauzi said it did not cause a tsunami.


Yogyakarta is about 25 km north of the Indian Ocean coast and 440 km east of Jakarta. Officials at six hospitals in and around Yogyakarta gave figures for the dead they had handled totalling 290.

The victims had generally suffered head injuries and broken bones from collapsing buildings. ''Most of them have wounds on their heads. The flow is not going down. The numbers are going to escalate,'' Subandi from the Bethesda hospital morgue in Yogyakarta told Reuters by telephone.

''However, everytime there is a tremor, hospital workers run out of the building,'' he added, speaking of the aftershocks that typically follow a large earthquake. Witnesses said hundreds of houses had collapsed in the quake. Office and government buildings were also in ruins. Hospital patients had been moved outside due to fears of aftershocks.

Thousands of residents were taking refuge in Yogyakarta's main square while thousands of others were sheltering at compounds of scores of mosques, churches and hospitals throughout the region.

''We're still afraid. We don't want to go home,'' said Hendra, one of hundreds of people who took refuge at Yogyakarta's Marganingsih Catholic Church. Jakarta earthquake centre official Fauzi put the quake's strength at 5.8 and said the epicentre was in the sea about 50 km south of Yogyakarta at a depth of 33 km.

There was widespread panic in Bantul, where at least 10 people were killed and hundreds hurt, and a desperate need for more doctors and nurses to treat the injured, said Kardi, the information officer for the hospital there.

A Reuters witness in Yogyakarta said many people there had fled their homes while thousands of others from areas near the city were trying to get into it to take refuge, many fearing a tsunami.

One Yogyakarta resident, Nani Kasidjo, said: ''I was having a morning walk and suddenly I felt dizzy and then people ran out of their houses screaming 'Earthquake!'''. Yogyakarta's airport was closed due to damage to the runway, Hatta Rajasa, transportation minister, told Elshinta news radio.

Roads leading to the coast were cracked and power was off in some areas, witnesses said. Telephone communication was erratic.

Yogyakarta's royal palaces and the nearby Borobudur temple complex are prime attractions for domestic and foreign tourists, and many foreigners study the Indonesian language at schools in the city which offer intensive courses. Indonesia sits on the Asia-Pacific's so-called ''Ring of Fire'' marked by heavy volcanic and tectonic activity.

Electricity and communications were also down in parts of Yogyakarta, police said. "It felt really powerful, and the whole building shook," said Narman, a receptionist who goes by one name at a hotel in Yogyakarta. "Everyone ran from their rooms." In the chaos that followed the quake, rumors of an impending tsunami sent thousands of people fleeing to higher ground in cars and on motorbikes. The city is around 30 kilometres from the sea, and more than three hours after the quake no tsunami had occurred. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said it has not issued any tsunami warnings from the quake. Japan's Meteorological Agency also said there was no danger of quake-generated giant waves.

The quake's epicenter was close to the Mount Merapi volcano, which has been rumbling for weeks and sending out large clouds of hot gas and ash. Activity increased as a result of the temblor, with one eruption that came soon after the volcano sending debris some 3.5 kilometres down its western flank, said Subandrio, a vulcanologist monitoring the peak.

"The quake has disturbed the mountain," he said.

There were no reports of injuries as a result of the eruption. Activity at Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has picked up in recent weeks and almost all villagers living near the danger zone have been evacuated. Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Best Wishes, Michael Wells Mandeville,
The Hills of Arizona USA at
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