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8.2 earthquake off Indonesia
March 28, 2005 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Magnitude 8.2 earthquake off Indonesia Tsunami warning bulletins are posted here.
posted by Mwongozi (75 comments total)

 
Crap. Here's hoping there's time to get to safety.
posted by quasistoic at 9:11 AM on March 28, 2005


Those people already had their fifteen minutes a few months ago. There's a woman dying in Florida now, you know.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:11 AM on March 28, 2005


Christmas AND Easter. Just saying.
posted by n9 at 9:13 AM on March 28, 2005


For reference, the December 26th earthquake that produced the terrible tsunami was a magnitude 9.0 - 9.3, depending on whom you ask. Magnitude is a logarithmic scale.

In other news, to paraphrase John's Adams's last words, Terry Schiavo still lives. (And Thomas Jefferson is probably still spinning in his grave.)
posted by orthogonality at 9:13 AM on March 28, 2005


n9 writes "Christmas AND Easter. Just saying."

And more orphaned heathen natives to convert! Truly God's mercy is wonderful to behold!
posted by orthogonality at 9:16 AM on March 28, 2005


Attitude here: yuk.
posted by uni verse at 9:20 AM on March 28, 2005


Look, if this is going to get derailed into a religious argument, can I play the "Summon Bevets" card? Can I? Huh? Huh? Please?

Meanwhile, I second the hope that there's enough warning this time.
posted by Decani at 9:22 AM on March 28, 2005


Fuck....

.
posted by MikeKD at 9:23 AM on March 28, 2005


Does anyone know how a ten-fold decrease in earthquake magnitude will affect wave magnitude?
posted by sid at 9:25 AM on March 28, 2005


Don'tchaknow? EVERY thread is an opportunity to troll for orthogonality! You must be new here
posted by spock at 9:26 AM on March 28, 2005


Decani writes "Meanwhile, I second the hope that there's enough warning this time."

Unfortunately, the quake happened at 11Pm local time, and the areas affected by a tsunami are mostly too the west -- waves are going to be hitting, and people are going to be evacuating, in the dark.

Let's wish them luck.
posted by orthogonality at 9:27 AM on March 28, 2005


Sid: It depends on what type of earthquake it is, which as far as I know isn't known yet. Some types don't produce any tsunami even when they're very strong.
posted by Mwongozi at 9:27 AM on March 28, 2005


What MikeKD said.
posted by litlnemo at 9:29 AM on March 28, 2005


orthogonality, I love your writing and you did some great stuff in that horrible SciAm/bevets train wreck. I'd hate to see that dwindle into sarcastic snark.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:29 AM on March 28, 2005


Updates from the BBC and CNN
posted by Mwongozi at 9:31 AM on March 28, 2005


There is a time and a place for the bottomless cold cup of coffee that is deeply bitter sarcasm and cynicism, I'm not sure where it begins and ends, but I'd be willing to place a bet that it ended somewhere above this post. Moral and Ironic calculus is flawed, number of deaths versus one's right to make a joke is a personal line best explored in the time it takes to count to 10 or 20 in the head, the slavering attention mad American media may not be the best proving ground for the sharp edge of your scathing wit, because like Mother Nature or the indifference of a mad God the media can take all you throw at it and come back for more, more, more.

I hope everybody is all right and wish the human condition was a better one. Selah.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:32 AM on March 28, 2005


Via Geotimes:

On the heels of the December 2004 tsunami that devastated Indonesia and resulted in the deaths of almost 300,000 people, scientists are taking a closer look at the seismic and tsunami risk of various faults around the world. Recent research indicates that Indonesia, as well as other regions like the Caribbean, could experience more earthquake and tsunami activity in the near future.

John McCloskey and colleagues from the University of Ulster, United Kingdom, calculated the stress on the Sunda trench subduction zone and Sumatra fault, caused by recent seismic activity. Their results, published in the March 17 Nature, indicate an increase in the stress on both of the fault zones due to the movement of the initial quake in December.



Anyone know the approximate delay between a magnitude being recorded and tidal waves hitting the shore? Hard to believe people from that region could suffer any more terribly this year.
posted by jenleigh at 9:33 AM on March 28, 2005


sid writes "Does anyone know how a ten-fold decrease in earthquake magnitude will affect wave magnitude?"

It may not be a ten-fold decrease. Each order of magnitude is about a 32-fold increase/decrease in the energy of the quake -- but the initial measurement of the December quake started in the eights, and was later found to be higher. So the current "8.2" measurement may well increase as we know more, and at this point it's still unclear how this quake compares to the December quake. Not to mention that are tsunamis going to be dependent on location as well as magnitude.

So at this point, I think we just have to wait and see what happens.

goodnewsfortheinsane writes "orthogonality, I love your writing and you did some great stuff in that horrible SciAm/bevets train wreck. I'd hate to see that dwindle into sarcastic snark."

Thanks. If it seems like snark, I apologize, but it's more just a terrible cynicism.

There's not much one can say about a natural disaster, -- it's bad, but what can you say? -- but one can't help anticipate, that like last time, some -- not all -- religious groups will use the disaster as an excuse to proselytize, just as one can't help but remember that President Bush stayed on vacation during the previous disaster but flew back to DC to sign the Schiavo Bill. I wish I could honestly believe otherwise, and I hope you'll forgive me that I can't.

(And I hope you'll notice I am trying to contribute useful technical information as well. (And why do I always get pasted for what Mayor Curley gets away with?)
posted by orthogonality at 9:39 AM on March 28, 2005


I hope everyone makes it out of this one allright. I'm sure having recently experienced this they will be quicker to get the hell out of shoreline.
posted by Dean Keaton at 9:40 AM on March 28, 2005


USGS, the ones recording this as an 8.2 now, first recorded the December 26th quake as an 8.1.

Oh shit. Perhaps. Let's hope not.
posted by flashboy at 9:41 AM on March 28, 2005


THERE IS NO TSUNAMI WARNING OR WATCH IN EFFECT.

...

WARNING... THIS EARTHQUAKE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GENERATE A WIDELY DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI IN THE OCEAN OR SEAS NEAR THE EARTHQUAKE.
AUTHORITIES IN THOSE REGIONS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS POSSIBILITY AND TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION.


Yeah, nice. Nice and userfriendly there, National Weather Service.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:43 AM on March 28, 2005


jenleigh writes "Anyone know the approximate delay between a magnitude being recorded and tidal waves hitting the shore?"

15 minutes (Sumatra in Indonesia) to seven hours (East Africa). So any tsunami has already hit in Indonesia, and now it proceeds east-ward for the next five or six hours (as the quake struck about an hour and forty minutes ago).
posted by orthogonality at 9:47 AM on March 28, 2005


THIS MESSAGE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. THERE IS NO TSUNAMI WARNINGOR WATCH IN EFFECT. link
posted by reflection at 9:53 AM on March 28, 2005


Sad. Luck be with them.
posted by peacay at 9:54 AM on March 28, 2005


P_G, reflection, that is because that particular document is for the Pacific Basin. There is no tsunami danger in the Pacific. The tsunami would be in the Indian Ocean.
posted by litlnemo at 9:55 AM on March 28, 2005


On the New York Times. There's one quote:
``I was getting ready for bed, and suddenly, the room started shaking,' said Kuala Lumpur resident Jessie Chong. ``I thought I was hallucinating at first, but then I heard my neighbors screaming and running out.'
posted by quasistoic at 9:55 AM on March 28, 2005


Oh holy crap, not again.
posted by loquacious at 9:56 AM on March 28, 2005


The analysis I've been reading suggests that the type of quake is very important to determining the size of any tsunami effects. Not only was the December quake huge, but the plates shifted in the worst possible direction, up against the water collumn. A slip quake may be less of an issue.

Also in regards to the linked warning:
"THIS BULLETIN IS FOR ALL AREAS OF THE PACIFIC BASIN EXCEPT
ALASKA - BRITISH COLUMBIA - WASHINGTON - OREGON - CALIFORNIA."

(emphasis added), It's about like looking at the weather in NYC for information on supercells in Oklahoma.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:57 AM on March 28, 2005


I wasn't having a dig, ortho. I really did want to play the Summon Bevets card.
posted by Decani at 10:00 AM on March 28, 2005


The PTWC bulletin says 8.5 now.
posted by quasistoic at 10:00 AM on March 28, 2005


.
posted by sciurus at 10:06 AM on March 28, 2005


Maybe those people praying to save one ruined life in Florida can find the time to think a little bit about the hundreds of thousands of ruined lives elsewhere in the world for a few minutes. Hoping for the best... fearing the worst.

(Of course the Schiavo people won't care. The people hit by the tsunami were brown, and they didn't believe in Jesus, so they apparently don't count. Fucking hypocrites.)
posted by caution live frogs at 10:09 AM on March 28, 2005


Actually it said 8.5 first. The event page was quickly downgraded to 8.2.
posted by Mwongozi at 10:14 AM on March 28, 2005


Thanks for clarifying, mwongozi.
posted by quasistoic at 10:19 AM on March 28, 2005


(Of course the Schiavo people won't care. The people hit by the tsunami were brown, and they didn't believe in Jesus, so they apparently don't count. Fucking hypocrites.)

This generalization and assumption stuff, it work out for you?
posted by xmutex at 10:26 AM on March 28, 2005


Sad. Luck be with them.

Ditto. This really really sucks.
posted by dig_duggler at 10:29 AM on March 28, 2005


Isn't it about time that we develop a more informative system of describing earthquakes? A linear number scale is so uninformative that it may cause more harm (panic) than good (evacuation). Why not append it with a letter that automatically presents the class of quake, so people will know whether they should run to the hills or only make more modest adjustments in their behaviors? It seems that this can be useful for planning, construction, and response in earthquake areas.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:29 AM on March 28, 2005


Huge quake hits Indonesian coast
Latest Pacific Tsunami Bulletin
Thousands evacuate after large quake
India says no tsunami warning has been issued
posted by ism at 10:36 AM on March 28, 2005


dances_with_sneetches: "Isn't it about time that we develop a more informative system of describing earthquakes? A linear number scale is so uninformative that it may cause more harm (panic) than good (evacuation). Why not append it with a letter that automatically presents the class of quake, so people will know whether they should run to the hills or only make more modest adjustments in their behaviors? It seems that this can be useful for planning, construction, and response in earthquake areas."

The number scale isn't linear, it's exponential. A "magnitude 8.2G" earthquake wouldn't inform people more than just "8.2", especially because when there's a strong earthquake (or when people are told "mumble mumble mumble incoming tsunami"), there's fear, and when there's fear, people stop thinking rationally. I'd be running like crazy, stepping over anyone in my path if I were in southeast Asia right now, too.
posted by Plutor at 10:36 AM on March 28, 2005


Reports on BBC radio suggesting that although panic in Aceh is widespread, actual damage is minimal, and there's no signs of water movement. Apparently some analysis suggests that a tsunami may have been formed, but with limited spread, heading in a tight "beam" towards (apparently) Mauritius.
posted by flashboy at 10:38 AM on March 28, 2005


> .

That dot is premature.
Really only neccessary if there is a ~
posted by Peter H at 10:46 AM on March 28, 2005


plutor. Okay, my mistake, your mistake. It isn't linear, it isn't exponential, it's logarithmic. Perhaps because logarithms aren't intuitive, by itself it's less informative. And I do think that a simple categorization would be more informative. People can learn to associate class A with no likelihood of tsunami, or class X as being the most dangerous. I think an appended letter designation would be helpful.
It seems from the posts so far that there is not a tsunami (or maybe only for Mauritius). Again, that would be useful to know. I'll opine a bit further. We categorize hurricaines with a simple number system, but the length of time the sustained winds will be in an area, whether it is a flood inducing hurricaine -- I think a simple extension to the categorization would be helpful and save lives.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:47 AM on March 28, 2005


Oh good a conversation about what the "." means. *heh*. I believe in this instance it means something like grim hope, rather then pontificating (which is what i'm doing, tisk me). In which case

.
posted by edgeways at 10:49 AM on March 28, 2005


dances - I think the problem with what you are suggesting is that that kind of information is simply not available instantly. form one of the links above:
"At this point in time we don't know what type of fault occurred ... and that is critical information we just don't have yet,"
posted by ScotchLynx at 11:01 AM on March 28, 2005


*From* one of the links above
posted by ScotchLynx at 11:03 AM on March 28, 2005


Informative to whom? The Richter scale is an informative measurement of the amount of energy involved in a quake. There is also the Mercalli scale that provides a qualitative view of the effects of a particular quake, but would be useless for providing warnings. The basic problem is that for most areas, you can't predict the kinds of damage that will be caused by an earthquake of a given magnitude. Damage depends quite a bit on local conditions such as soil type, hydrology and building codes. Even worse, we don't have good models of Tsunami creation that allows us to say, "this earthquake is going to produce a tsunami of this size." Tsunami effects are also highly local depending on the shape of the basin they travel in.

Magnitude is used because it is usually the first thing that is known about a quake from regional stations.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:07 AM on March 28, 2005


I believe in this instance it means something like grim hope

grim hope. yes.
posted by sciurus at 11:11 AM on March 28, 2005


The USGS just upgraded the quake to an 8.7.

(And yes, I actually saw the page change this time.)
posted by quasistoic at 11:16 AM on March 28, 2005


page now says 8.7, that can't be good
posted by leotrotsky at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2005


It says "Magnitude 8.7 - NORTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
2005 March 28 16:09:36 UTC" on the event page now.
posted by riffola at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2005


(And why do I always get pasted for what Mayor Curley gets away with?)

People want consistency. If you're insightful for a while, you're expected to be one of the "insightful ones." Eventually, people will just take any snarks you make along the way as Deep Thinking. I say this because any thoughtful contributions I make invariably receive a "STFU, SARCASTIC ASSWIPE!" Choose your pigeonhole carefully.

(I'm not complaining about this. One of the reasons I keep coming back is the nasty responses and emails I get for statements as innoccuous as my preference for certain cheese varieties. "YOU WOULD LIKE JARLSBERG, COCK!")
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2005


Also, from the PTWC's most recent bulletin:
NOTE:
THERE HAS BEEN NO MAJOR TSUNAMI OBSERVED NEAR THE EPICENTER.

THERE WAS HOWEVER A SMALL TSUNAMI OBSERVED ON THE COCOS TIDE GAGE.
posted by quasistoic at 11:19 AM on March 28, 2005



posted by peacay at 11:19 AM on March 28, 2005


Latest Pacific Tsunami Bulletin

Why the repeated links the NOAA Pacific bulletins for an event that is not in the Pacific?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:20 AM on March 28, 2005



(And yes, I actually saw the page change this time.)


wow. something to tell your grandchildren about, eh?
posted by quonsar at 11:22 AM on March 28, 2005


There is no Indian ocean warning system, so the Pacific bulletins are all we have.
posted by Mwongozi at 11:24 AM on March 28, 2005


Try to find an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning page. One that actually works right now (unlike the ioc.unesco.org).

On Preview: Seems the ioc IndoTsunami page is working for me now, albeit very slowly. There's no information on there relevant to today's event.

quonsar: read above RE: me speaking too soon
posted by quasistoic at 11:26 AM on March 28, 2005


Looks like the force of the quake, and the resulting waves, may have been directed South, away from any land.
posted by orthogonality at 11:30 AM on March 28, 2005


Christmas AND Easter. Just saying

While we wait for hopefully good news that there is not a major tsunami is associated with this quake the following should be considered.

The 12/26 event was, allowing for time zones, 4 days after the winter solstice and 1 day after the celebrated birth of Christ. Today is 8 days after the Vernal Equinox and 1 day after the resurrection of Christ. Following that pattern 16 days after the summer solstice is July 7 and if we can find an event on July 6 of the magnitude of Christmas and Easter it could spell the End of Time.
posted by mss at 11:32 AM on March 28, 2005



posted by quonsar at 11:45 AM on March 28, 2005


Oh, and before everyone gets all hyped up over the differences in reports, magnitude estimates have an error of +/- 0.3 after all the data is in.

There is no Indian ocean warning system, so the Pacific bulletins are all we have.

Certainly, on the other hand, I suspect that pointing to a page centered on the United States in regards to tsunami warnings is potentially misleading. Is the PTWC authorized to issue warnings about tsunamis that don't affect U.S. coasts? Basically, it provides no more information than is found from Indian networks, with a lot of added junk that as we have seen on this thread, has caused some confusion.

The latest bulletin seems to make this clear:
"...THIS TSUNAMI INFORMATION BULLETIN IS FOR ALASKA - BRITISH
COLUMBIA - WASHINGTON - OREGON AND CALIFORNIA ONLY..."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:45 AM on March 28, 2005


Nice name:

Waverly Person, a geophysicist as the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center, told MSNBC that there was "a good possibility" that no tsunami hit the Sumatran coast this time around, because none was reported even two hours after the earthquake.

"They would have hit by now if there were a tsunami," Person said.

The Dec. 26 tsunami wave traveled across open ocean at speeds of up to 500 mph (800 kilometers per hour).
posted by quasistoic at 12:06 PM on March 28, 2005


So at what point has it been long enough that we would have heard of a major tsunami if there were one? (On preview, thanks quasistoic.)

Following that pattern 16 days after the summer solstice is July 7 and if we can find an event on July 6 of the magnitude of Christmas and Easter it could spell the End of Time.

That's assuming the pattern is doubling, but it could be adding 4 each time, which would make it 12 days instead. Whenever it is, I think you're looking at it backward. On Christmas, Jesus was born. On Easter, Jesus returned from the dead. The next event is obviously the second coming. And the earthquake the following day, be it July 7 or July 3, will be part of the apocalypse.
posted by scottreynen at 12:19 PM on March 28, 2005


quonsar is a genius
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:26 PM on March 28, 2005


That's assuming the pattern is doubling, but it could be adding 4 each time, which would make it 12 days instead. Whenever it is, I think you're looking at it backward. On Christmas, Jesus was born. On Easter, Jesus returned from the dead. The next event is obviously the second coming. And the earthquake the following day, be it July 7 or July 3, will be part of the apocalypse.

Awesome. PSA: Everyone make sure to wear clean underwear on July 3rd and 7th.

(I'm just relieved that it seems that there will be no tsunamis today.)
posted by shoppingforsanity at 12:40 PM on March 28, 2005


According to this article in the New Scientist that was posted on March 16, this earthquake was expected.

The Sumatra fault is not the only threat. A second quake along the Sunda trench, a continuation of the India-Burma subduction zone, could lead to another tsunami. An earthquake in this area was considered overdue even before the quake farther north on the same fault which caused last year's tsunami.

"This south-east part of the subduction zone has been accumulating stress since 1833 and 1861, and the recent earthquake will have added more," says Phil Cummins of Geoscience Australia.

An earthquake in the Sunda trench could potentially reach magnitude 8.5, McCloskey warns, and could trigger another tsunami. Because it would start further south than the one last year, it would probably not strike Thailand, but Sri Lanka and the west coast of Africa could be hit again, as would Sumatra. Seismologist Seth Stein of Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, agrees: "If the next bit south broke it could create a comparable tsunami."

posted by RockBandit at 12:54 PM on March 28, 2005


That's assuming the pattern is doubling, but it could be adding 4 each time, which would make it 12 days instead. Whenever it is, I think you're looking at it backward. On Christmas, Jesus was born. On Easter, Jesus returned from the dead. The next event is obviously the second coming. And the earthquake the following day, be it July 7 or July 3, will be part of the apocalypse.

What the hell? Does that mean I'm not going to get to see the "Revelations" miniseries on NBC this fall?

And quonsar wins. That hurt so much and so good.
posted by loquacious at 12:56 PM on March 28, 2005


An 8.7, now? Woot, top ten. Interesting times, interesting times.

The December quake was a "megathrust" type, which actually changed the height of the seafloor, displacing a massive amount of water. That doesn't always happen.
posted by dhartung at 2:03 PM on March 28, 2005


At least 50 dead, as of now. Although it sounds like that has more to do with the direct effect of the quake rather than wave action
posted by edgeways at 2:18 PM on March 28, 2005


Not only is this one day after Christmas and one day after Easter thing a little creepy, but the last biggie happened one year to the hour after the last big one before that in Bam, Iran... which again, was the day after Christmas.
posted by trinarian at 2:35 PM on March 28, 2005


The December quake was a "megathrust" type, which actually changed the height of the seafloor, displacing a massive amount of water. That doesn't always happen.

Technically, any thrust that breaks the surface is going to change the elevation of the land/sea floor around it. Hence, that is why tsunamis usually occur as a result of earthquakes rupturing normal/reverse/thrust faults.

(There are some instances of earthquakes on transform faults possibly creating tsunamis due to certain mechanics of moving an underwater slope/hill and displacing water. i.e. unusual wave recorded shortly after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.)
posted by RockBandit at 2:38 PM on March 28, 2005


TsunamiFilter

/uncalled for
posted by Mach3avelli at 2:55 PM on March 28, 2005


number of deaths versus one's right to make a joke is a personal line best explored in the time it takes to count to 10 or 20 in the head

Just wanted to see that one again. Thanks to everyone who posted information rather than idiocy.
posted by mediareport at 3:36 PM on March 28, 2005


The largest earthquake in US history was the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964. , which measured a 9.2 on the Richter Scale, caused waves as large as 60m and killed people as far away as Crescent City CA. Remind me to stay away from the coast during Christian holidays in future.

Is the PTWC authorized to issue warnings about tsunamis that don't affect U.S. coasts? Basically, it provides no more information than is found from Indian networks, with a lot of added junk that as we have seen on this thread, has caused some confusion.

Considering that they tried and failed to warn people through the official channels last time, and were roundly criticized for it, I'd say they were distributing this info every way they could possibly think of.
posted by fshgrl at 1:41 AM on March 29, 2005


if God is just, why must the poor always suffer and die like flies ?
posted by m39 at 1:43 PM on March 29, 2005


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