Sunday, 3 May 2009

Combined Earthquake & Tsunami Risk Heightens For Bali

Combined Earthquake & Tsunami Risk Heightens For Bali
By Seismic Movement
May 23, 2006, 06:48

Recently the Indonesia wobble pundits have been doing what they do best; lying in one form or another about how safe Bali now is because of the early tsunami warning system which has recently undergone initial tests and where 6 marine detectors are scheduled to go online around Bali and East Java in July 2006. Wobbler Mr. S. Budianto who is chief of the Denpasar Meteorology and Geophysical Department, says “this equipment can automatically sound a siren warning in the event of a tsunami in as little as 5-10 minutes following an actual earthquake”. Sound a siren where Mr. Budianto? Of course the operative word in Mr. Budianto’s statement is “can”; that is, if it were connected to a local warning system, which it is not. But even it these 6 marvels were able to automatically sound a warning on Bali’s beaches and tourism areas, it would be a waste of time anyway. Because, if a tsunami creating earthquake occurred on the Australia Eurasia fault line just off Bali’s coast; a) If the warning sirens were mounted on structures built to Bali’s high [sic] and highly enforced [sic] building codes, they would be demolished as a result of the earthquake, b) Even of the siren survived no-one would need it, as they would have been warned by the 9+ Richter scale quake 10 minutes before, c) The warning would only give people 10 minutes to escape the wave which given the chaos caused by the earthquake and the relatively low topography of areas like Kuta and Seminyak would mean this was not enough for people to escape! Therefore many or even most people in the area would be either dead or trapped under collapsed buildings and all the sirens would do is inflict additional torment and suffering on the injured and trapped as they realized they only had a few minutes to live.

Chief wobblemeister and dictator of the untruth ministry (the Bali Update), John M Daniels claims these 6 detectors have been “Positioned to protect Bali's most populous beaches, the warning devices will eventually have real-time connections to cellular telephones and the electronic media.” Can we believe Jack Daniels is so uneducated in the realities of what these monitors can and will do, or do we believe he is deliberately painting a false picture in order to attract tourists to Bali or more likely his own travel agency? We know Jack of Bali Discovery Tours in Sanur reads our articles (and then "reports" them to the police [sic] falsely claiming he knows who writes them). So Jack, are you prepared to apologize for your seemingly sordid selfish and immoral wobble this time? Are you prepared to publish a retraction of your article and tell people the truth, which is these buoys are positioned to protect beaches thousands of miles away and will not protect the people on Bali one single bit? No? We didn’t think so!

Of course these tsunami detectors will have a great role to play in giving places like the Maldives and Sri Lanka plenty of warning of any tsunami created off the Indonesian coast and coming their way, but what it will not do is help anyone on Bali! It took just 20 minutes for the first of several massive waves to hit the Aceh coastline on December 26th, 2004, but very few people actually saw the total devastation there as media coverage was scarce and concentrated on the western tourist area of Phuket, whose wave was nowhere near as large as poor Aceh’s, being so much closer to the earthquake epicenter. It was not just the massive wave that swept all in its path in Aceh; it was the massive earthquake that destroyed the area first. If you want to understand how Bali could be affected or rather afflicted, look for video coverage of the Aceh tsunami, and then think of what such a disaster would do to Jimbaran Bay, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu; we of course name these towns for a reason.

Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Project Map
The main tourist areas of Bali (Jimbaran Bay, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu) have recently been reassessed by the UN sponsored Swiss based Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Project as being one of the most at risk zones from the next tsunami in the world! The map / illustration you see left from them shows the major seismic risk areas for the archipelago. This does not include volcanic activity, just earthquake risk; the red areas are the ones most at risk from significant earthquakes. Of course, unfortunately for Bali, its earthquake potential comes from the vertical Australian / Eurasian fault, which lies off the coast; the same fault line that produced the quake that produced the tsunami of December 26th, 2004. Because the two plates are actually colliding with one going above the other, they can create the upsurge required in the water above the fault line (as the terrain below is forced violently upwards in a major subterranean earthquake) necessary to create a tsunami or so-called “tidal wave”. Footnote: As the map shows the potential seismic / earthquake risk, not actual tsunami risk per say, the fact the whole of the Western area of Bali is coloured red (most at risk) should be put into contextual proportion in that it is only the SW area of Bali (not Lovina as the map may otherwise indicate) which is at significant tsunami risk.

The reason Bali is significantly at risk from the next tsunami is due in part to the way earthquakes develop (cause and effect). Earthquakes are actually caused when two opposing tectonic plates either colliding with or moving in opposite directions against each other build up stress because opposing land masses do not actually move through friction against each other until one day the forces are so great that they jolt free in their respected directions. When one earthquake happens, the whole fault line tries to move but can not, due to friction of the plates in other areas along the tectonic ridge. This means an earthquake in one area increases the stress on that same and other fault lines in other areas, and with it the heightened risk of earthquakes elsewhere. What is worrying for Bali is that since the December 26th 2004 quake / tsunami off the coast of North West Aceh Province, there has been a significant quake (6.3 on the Richter scale) further south just off the coast in North Sumatra province (Nias Island – epicenter 0.10 degrees north latitude and 97.06 degrees east longitude) on the 16th May 2006. It is certain this quake is a result the extra stress it inherited from the tsunami 2004 quake. In a way fortunate for that area is that the Nias Island suffered another large quake on the 25th March 2005 (8.7 on the Richter scale) that got rid of most of the built up stress / pressure. We say “fortunate” for that area, although we know around 600 people died from the March 2005 quake, because if all of the stress had created one major quake that day the chances are the area would have suffered a more devastating earthquake plus the whole region yet another tsunami; Bali with all that "pass along the line" strees bing built up may be next and not be so lucky.

In addition to 16th May Nias Island quake, there have also been other earthquakes in Indonesia which indicates the stresses are building up in the area around Bali. On May 10th a quake estimated at 6.1 on the Richter scale occurred approximately 200 kilometers south of Manado (Sulawesi plate) in the Molucca Sea; Palu Sulawesi also suffered a 6.2 quake in January 2005. On May 23rd another quake, again estimated at 6.1, occurred whose epicenter was under the Banda Sea, some 200 kilometers southwest of Ambon. Plus of course the eruption of Mount Merapi in central Java which caused large scale evacuations is another indication of increasing activity. Now, when you look at the (top) image we have provided of the tectonic plates and their directions, then cross reference this with the points (marked with a “+”) of the most recent quakes we have added to the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Project map, perhaps you too can get a feel for where the plate pressures are building up, likely right in the middle of all of this; that’s right, Bali! It does not take much to figure out why 500 of the world’s top scientists in this field have warned Bali is at high risk from the region’s next tsunami.

Some of you might rightly ask why an anti-corruption and anti-fraud site like Bali BS is making this information known and in such a way, after all earthquakes and tsunamis do not occur because of corruption. Well, the problem for us comes in two parts. First there are the wobble (amateur spin) makers who will tell potential visiting wallets and their owners what they think they want to hear. We believe people like Jack Daniels of Bali Discovery Tours is so obsessed with tourism, especially their own companies’, that they are prepared to distort and report events like the 6 Bali tsunami warning buoys as something they are not. That’s right, we believe people like Daniels are so shallow and selfish they are prepared to lie to people about the risk to their lives should they come to Bali. We believe that if the Indonesian Government and travel agents actually gave potential visitors real information and advice about what to do in the event of an earthquake / possible pending tsunami is both moral and likely to help tourism recover faster then misleading or even downright lying ever will. The second problem we have comes the fact that buildings in Bali are too often not constructed to the same earthquake and tsunami resistant standards as over countries, such as Japan and the West Coast of the USA. We believe the reason for this is two-fold, one that construction is done on the cheap legally, two that the building standards which exist are not applied as they should through corruption. That is why Bali BS believes it needed to publish this article the way it has. If or perhaps rather when a subterranean earthquake around or greater than 9 on the Richter scale occurs on the Australian – Eurasian fault just offshore from Bali, if the people are not prepared and the buildings exist to the same standards as they do right now, a tsunami originating that close to Bali likely would make December 26th 2004 look like a picnic in comparison.

Bali / Indonesia; see the reality, stop the lies, mandate higher construction standards (the island’s tourism revenues say you can afford it), get rid of the corruption that allows standards to be cheated, prepare the population to help themselves and your nation’s guests in the event of a natural disaster and watch the wallets come flooding back to your economy.

Since writing this article, the 6.3 Richter scale earthquake whose epicenter was in Bantul about 15 km south of Yogyakarta has struck. Our earnest sympathies to the people who have lost loved ones or have been injured. The frightening scale of the damage and the human victims is an unfortunate testament to the poor or even non-existent building (structural) standards in Indonesia. This earthquake also suggests increased tectonic stresses are moving south towards Bali.

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