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JAKARTA : An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale shook the western part of Indonesia's Java island on Friday but there was no damage or casualties, a seismologist said.

The inland quake occurred at 9:06am (0206 GMT) and was felt in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, said Suharjono of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.


The epicentre was 19 kilometres south of the city.

He said the tremor may have been triggered by pressure caused by a series of recent earthquakes off Sumatra island.

Indonesia has been shaken by a series of earthquakes since the December massive temblor, which generated a tsunami that killed some 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean, mostly on Sumatra island.

An 8.7 earthquake centred on the same Indian Ocean geological faultline killed more than 600 people as scores of concrete buildings collapsed on the Indonesian island of Nias.

A series of volcanoes have sprung to life in the wake of the quakes, including Tangkuban Perahu, near Bandung.

Bandung is due to host 50 heads of state next week at a ceremony to mark the golden anniversary of the Asia-Africa summit. - AFP /ch
 

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Indonesia nervously watches 11 volcanoes as quakes heighten eruption chance

A graphic showing Indonesia's 129 active volcanoes, as scientists placed 11 volcanoes under close watch after a series of powerful quakes awoke intense subterranean forces and increased the chances of a major eruption.(AFP/Martin Megino)



http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/indonesiavolcano


JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian scientists placed 11 volcanoes under close watch after a series of powerful quakes awoke intense subterranean forces and increased the chances of a major eruption.

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AFP Photo

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Slideshow Slideshow: Indonesian Volcano Spews Ash

Video Volcano Erupts on Indonesia's Sumatra Island
(AP Video)


As tens of thousands spent a third night in temporary camps after fleeing the slopes of Mount Talang on Sumatra island, where hot ash has been raining down since Monday, more volcanoes began rumbling into life.

Late Wednesday Anak Krakatau -- the "child" of the legendary Krakatoa that blew itself apart in 1883 in one of the worst-ever natural disasters -- was put on alert status amid warnings of poisonous gas emissions.

No one lives on Krakatau, which forms a small island in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. But the peak is a popular tourist spot, attracting both Indonesian and foreign day trippers.

A similar warning was earlier issued for Tangkuban Perahu, near the west Java city of Bandung. Next week the city will host more than 50 heads of state, including China's president, at a summit of Asian and African leaders.

Isya Nur Ahmad Dana of Indonesia's Vulcanology Office said Mount Merapi, 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of the Sumatran city of Padang, had been on alert since last August, but along with seven other peaks was now under closer watch.

"The status of Tangkuban Perahu in west Java and Krakatau in the Sunda Strait have both been raised from 'normal' to 'alert' on Wednesday following an observed increase in volcanic activities," Dana said.

Amid growing fears of an imminent disaster in the wake of recent powerful earthquakes and last year's devastating tsunami disaster, the government has urged people to remain calm.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono travelled to an area near Talang, 25 kilometres east of Padang, to meet some of the more than 20,000 people who have fled villages on the fertile slopes of the smoking peak.

His deputy Yusuf Kalla also warned people living near other active volcanoes to take precautions and urged local officials to make contingency plans in anticipation of an eruption.

"We call on the people to really be alert," he said.

Indonesia has 130 active volcanoes, forming part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire" -- an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

The archipelago nation's proximity to the junction of three continental plates, which jostle under immense pressure, makes it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and eruptions.

A massive 9.3 magnitude earthquake on December 26 triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 220,000 people. A second quake of 8.7 on the Richter scale from the same faultline killed at least 670 people last month.

Scientists have warned of a possible third disaster, either a quake or an eruption from a so-called super volcano, such as the giant crater of Lake Toba on Sumatra, where increased activity has also been recorded.

Mount Talang, a 2,599 metre (8,680 foot) volcano that last erupted in 2003, remained on standby for eruption Thursday with scientists unable to determine if the peak was beginning to calm down.

"Our team is still studying the data on site and we cannot yet say whether the activities of Mount Talang have slowed down or energy is building up for a bigger eruption," Dana said.



But he said there were no immediate moves to evacuate people around Tangkuban Perahu, which straddles the territories of two districts and the city of Bandung, with a total population of some 7.5 million people.

One prominent Indonesian seismologist meanwhile expressed doubt that the volcanic activity was linked to recent tremors as quakes were linked to tectonic friction while eruptions were due to an accumulation of molten magma.

"Theoretically, it can happen and there is a relationship, but the correlation is not 100 percent and it rarely occurs," said Sarwidi, head of seismology studies centre at Indonesia's Islamic University in Yogyakarta.

In the latest earth tremor, a 5.8-magnitude quake was recorded on Sumatra island on Thursday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
 

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Pacific 'Ring of Fire' awakened by Indonesian quakes

Pacific 'Ring of Fire' awakened by Indonesian quakes





Wed Apr 13, 1:18 PM ET

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MOUNT TALANG, Indonesia (AFP) - Massive quakes in Indonesia have stirred two huge volcanoes from their slumber and sent shockwaves reverberating along a vast and volatile region known as the Pacific "Ring of Fire."

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Both on land or underwater, the volatile edges of the north Pacific, bounded by the east Asian rim and the west coast of the Americas, are alive with near-constant seismic activity.

Some of the most dramatic natural disasters of recent history have happened within the Ring's arc, which stretches from Chile, north to Alaska and then west to encompass Japan, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.

From the nuclear-like explosion of Krakatoa volcano off Indonesia in 1883 to the eruption of Mount St Helens in the United States in 1980, the Ring's awesome power is legendary.

But it gained new notoriety when on December 26 last year, a massive 9.3 magnitude earthquake occurred off Indonesia unleashing tsunamis that devastated shores around the Indian Ocean, killing more than 220,000 people.

The reason for such geological volatility is the fragile fault lines that ring the zone.

The Earth's crust is made up of a series of rocky plates that literally float on the molten rock of the Earth's mantle and core, interlocked over the entire planet like the pieces of a puzzle.

These plates are in constant motion, clashing into each other or moving away from each other, creating stresses and pressure build-ups at their margins.

The edges, or fault lines, are weak points in the planet's surface where the crust drops to just a few miles in thickness; at its thickest it is about 20 miles deep.

Many, mostly small eruptions occur, but occasionally huge volcanic explosions, earthquakes or landslides are generated, as pent up energy is released through the weak fissures.

Among the most active parts of the ring is the Mariana Trench, near the tiny US-controlled Guam islands, and in recent months, the waters off the southwestern shores of Indonesia's Sumatra island.

Last December's massive quake was created when the Earth's crust shunted a huge 15 metres (50 feet), producing so much energy that the planet wobbled on its axis and tsunamis travelled for thousands of miles.

That quake was followed three months later by another measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale, causing extensive damage to the Sumatra coast islands of Nias and Simeulue, leaving more than 670 dead.

Tremors have continued to shake the region, the latest on Wednesday measuring 5.3, with scientists warning that a third big seismic event could be on the way.

"The probability of a third quake in the coming months and years, cannot be excluded," Mustapha Meghraoui, of the Institute for Planetary Physics in Strasbourg, eastern France, said recently.
 

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This all seems to be leading up to something...


Powerful quakes rock Indonesia's Java island

JAKARTA, (AFP) - Two earthquakes, one measuring up to 6.5 on the Richter scale and felt in Jakarta, shook Indonesia's Java island, but there were no casualties or damage, seismologists said.

An undersea quake measuring between 6.0 and 6.5 occurred at 11:17 am (0417 GMT) and was felt in the Indonesian capital and its outskirts, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

The epicenter was in the Sunda Strait, a narrow stretch of water separating Java and Sumatra islands, in which the remains of the legendary Krakatoa volcano continue to smoulder.

Another tremor struck at 9:06 am and was felt in the nearby city of Bandung, the capital of West Java province, the agency said. The epicenter was 19 kilometers (11 miles) south of the city.

The chief seismologist at the geophysics agency, Suharjono, said the tremor may have been triggered by pressure caused by a series of recent earthquakes off Sumatra island.

Indonesia has been shaken by a series of earthquakes since the December massive temblor, which generated a tsunami that killed some 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean, mostly on Sumatra island.

An 8.7 earthquake centred on the same Indian Ocean geological faultline killed more than 600 people as scores of concrete buildings collapsed on the Indonesian island of Nias.

A series of volcanoes have sprung to life in the wake of the quakes, including Anak Krakatau, the "child" of Krakatoa, and Tangkuban Perahu, near Bandung.

Bandung is due to host 50 heads of state next week at a ceremony to mark the golden anniversary of the Asia-Africa summit.
 
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