Why does Indonesia experience so many earthquakes?

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Lonely Planet

The country of Indonesia was struck by two powerful earthquakes within a week. This time the earthquakes hit the tourist island of Lombok. The second earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale damaged thousands of homes, ruptured roads, cut off power lines and unfortunately wounded hundreds of unexpecting tourists, hikers, and locals on the island.

Rescue workers are still trying to rescue people from damaged buildings and those stranded in the remote mountainous part of the island. Volunteers are putting up temporary shelters and distributing food, water and medical supplies to those affected by this natural disaster.

The earthquake was also felt on the famous tourist island of Bali, where people experienced repeated tremors and some building sustained damage.

Now you might wonder why there has been so much volcanic activity and so many earthquakes in this region. This region has a lot of seismic activity. ‘Seismic’ means that it relates to earthquakes or other vibrations of the earth and its crust.

National Geographic Society

Indonesia is an archipelago, i.e a collection of many small islands. It sits right on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire — an imaginary line that follows the rim of the Pacific Ocean and marks zones where several tectonic plates collide.

Tectonic plates are pieces of crust that slowly move across the planet’s surface over millions of years. Both the Indonesian earthquakes occurred along zones where tectonic plates are colliding.

Earth Observatory of Singapore

These zones are called subduction zones where one plate bends and slides underneath the other, curving down into the mantle. These zones are responsible for the world’s biggest earthquakes, the most terrible tsunamis and some of the worst volcanic eruptions.

In this case, the Indo-Australian tectonic plate dived under the Eurasian plate causing powerful earthquakes.


Written By: Biyash Choksey

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