Papua Indonesia Earthquake – The Indonesian region is prone to earthquakes because it is passed by the meeting point of three tectonic plates that also constantly moving.
Even though it is evenly distributed, the Papua Indonesia earthquake was once one of the biggest.
Earthquake Disaster in Papua
A tectonic earthquake that shook the Jayapura and Sarmi Regencies, Papua, occurred in January 2020. Saturday night, this Papua Indonesia earthquake shook with a magnitude (M) of 6.1.
Previously, this area also frequently experienced earthquakes.
The location of the earthquake’s epicentre was very close to the site of October 26, 1926, an earthquake as strong as M 7.6 and May 28 1968, an earthquake with M 7.5.
The same earthquake source indeed triggered those three significant earthquakes.
That source is the Mamberamo Anjak Fault which makes Jayapura and Sarmi Regencies tectonically active and complex seismically.
We Called it active seismic because the two areas have a high level of seismic activity.
Meanwhile, the area is complex because it has many distributions of primary earthquake sources with various segmentation of faults and splays.
Another Earthquake in Papua
Many references mention the Mamberamo Fault. This active fault structure traverses the Sarmi and Jayapura regencies, so it often experiences earthquakes almost once a year.
Foreign experts sometimes refer to the active earthquake source zone as the Mamberamo Deformation Zone (MDZ) or the Mamberamo Thrust and Fold Belt (MTFB).
Due to this active tectonic condition, the Sarmi and Jayapura areas are very prone to earthquakes.
Before the earthquake in Jayapura 2020 in 2019, the Sarmi area had also been rocked by two strong tremors. On June 20, 2019, M 6,3 and June 24, 2019, M 6,1 caused catastrophic damage.
Since 1921, there have been 20 strong earthquakes that shook Sarmi and Jayapura.
Several strong earthquakes hit Papua, including those in Sarmi on February 19 1921, with a magnitude of 6.9, in 1923, 1926, and 1930, and several earthquakes with other significant strengths.
On April 6 2013, the Talikora earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 was record with an impact of VII-VIII MMI.
The Sarmi earthquake on July 27, 2015, with a magnitude of M 7.0, affected VI MMI and the Sarmi earthquake on June 20 2019, with a magnitude of M 6.3, impacted IV MMI.
History of Strong Earthquakes in Papua
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) explained that the Sarmi and Jayapura Regencies are known to have a long history of strong and destructive earthquakes in Papua.
More than 20 large-magnitude earthquake activities impacts reaching the VI to IX Modified Mercally Intensity (MMI) intensity scale.
The impact of the earthquake on the MMI intensity scale shows that, on average, simple brick buildings experience light damage on the VI MMI intensity scale.
In contrast, those on the VIII intensity scale can trigger moderate to severe damage.
However, the high potential for earthquakes in Sarmi and Jayapura does not need to worry the public too much.
All information relate to the potential for earthquakes in this region must be respond to with concrete steps by strengthening mitigation efforts.
How to Mitigate Earthquake Disaster
The number of Papua Indonesia earthquakes and other earthquakes should make everyone aware of mitigation measures.
We can apply some of the following mitigation steps to minimize the risk when an earthquake occurs:
- Get to know the structure and location of your house to find out the risks that cause earthquakes, such as liquefaction, landslides, and volcanoes.
- Renovating an already fragile building structure.
- Know the evacuation route where you are frequently, such as your home and office.
- Make sure you know an exit route, such as a fire escape, to a safe place to take cover.
- Practice evacuating and using first aid kits.
- Keep a record of significant telephone numbers
- Always turn off water, gas and electricity when not in use.
- Position furniture against the wall with nails or ties to prevent it from falling.
The Papua Indonesia earthquake happens repeatedly with great destructive power. Therefore, anyone needs to be vigilant, take preventive steps and understand repressive actions.