34-meter tsunami could hit Indonesian islands in mega earthquake: research
JAKARTA – A tsunami up to 34 meters high could be triggered by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in and around the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, according to a recently published report by Indonesian researchers, although no timetable was given.
Researchers have found high seismic activity on the southern coast of West Java province and the southeastern part of Sumatra island that could trigger a “mega-thrust” earthquake, according to the report published last Sunday in the journal Natural Hazards.
If an earthquake of this magnitude occurs, the tsunami could be comparable to that which followed a devastating earthquake in 2004.
Aceh province, also in Sumatra, was hit by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on December 26, 2004, killing an estimated 180,000 people. It was the deadliest disaster in Indonesian history.
The researchers assessed the height of a potential tsunami using a map of more than 1,000 epicenters with earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater based on data from 2009 to 2020.
They said “magnitude is only one factor in determining the maximum height of the tsunami.” They put the average height of tsunamis along the coasts of Sumatra and Java at 11.8 meters and 10.6 meters, respectively.
A separate study showed that a “megathrust” type earthquake in southwest Java can occur once every 500 years.
Indonesia is one of the most seismically active regions in the world, located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.