Moderate shallow earthquake hits Sulawesi (Mw5.8) - 51 houses damaged, 2 people injured so far

Earthquake overview : An earthquake has hit in the populated region of Sulawesi Tengah. It is shallow in depth and of a magnitude that may cause significant damage in the epicentral region.

"I have Felt it" Reports --> see below + Let us know "how you have felt this earthquake"
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).
Check also our Indonesia-only earthquake list

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available

Update May 1, 2012 - 14:56 UTC
Strong aftershock in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Although the 5.5 Magnitude can be considered as strong in our terms, the depth is weakening the impact and we expect no serious damage or injuries . People in Sulawesi are experiencing a lot of earthquakes and their houses are build from material (mostly wood and bamboo) which is very efficient against earthquakes. Brick and concrete are mostly used in bigger cities only.  USGS expects 1000 people to have experienced a MMI VI strong shaking. 43,000 people a moderate shaking and 562,000 people a light shaking. The epicenter area is the same then last week Mw5.8 earthquake. Click here for our in-depth article. During this Mw5.8 earthquake, 51 houses were damaged and 2 people injured. Hypocenter depth was reported as 9.9 km versus 40 km today, a lot deeper and thus less dangerous.
Update : BMKG, the local Indonesian seismological agency reports a Magnitude of 5.3 at a depth of 10 km. The epicenter is following BMKG located offshore, a whole lot of difference. We trust BMKG as a very good seismological agency and in this case working with their own instruments (closest to the epicenter). See also our daily report of May 1

Lake Matano, Sulawesi, Indonesia greater earthquake area - Panoramio picture courtesy John Adamson -

UPDATE 16:30UTC: At least 16 houses have been damaged, 35 others have minor damage, and two people who were in Parliament House of the Morowali District, Central Sulawesi were injured by the earthquake that struck the area.

"We still continue to record the number of casualties and damaged buildings," said Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Morowali Suhirman who called from Palu on her cell phone to news services in Indonesia.

According to him, the parliament building of Morowali suffered damage estimated at 35%. "There is no wall that collapsed, but cracks everywhere," he said.

It is likely that the damage will exceed that of the M8.6 earthquake a week ago.

While the houses are severely damaged and collapsed generally cracked. Damaged buildings, mostly owned by people living in the District Bungku Central and Eastern Bungku.

This earthquake has been labelled CATDAT Orange.

UPDATE 05:00UTC: Our main concerns are still closer to the epicentre where we have no word yet.

Good news from a large town a moderate distance from the epicenter. Students taking their exams at SMA Negeri 1 Malili (80km away from the epicentre) rushed outside, with no injuries, but there appears to be no damage - therefore they have continued their exams.

UPDATE 03:30UTC: No news from the epicentral region as yet. Indonesian news services are repeating the epicentral location with no other information. We are currently trying to get news from the epicenter given the severity of the 15.02.2011 quake.

UPDATE 03:10UTC: There are numerous mines in the area. Three hydrodams power the residential area and the power was out for almost 48 hours in the last event in the region.

UPDATE 03:00UTC: BMKG has confirmed the severity of the earthquake with a Ml5.7 at 10km.

An earthquake in approximately the same location of Mw6.1 hit last year on the 15th February 2011, with damaging results. Although there were no casualties, some houses collapsed and many cracked.

"The Indonesian news channel Tempo reported that hundreds of people ran to the higher grounds of the Sorowako airport when the earthquake struck yesterday evening (local time) fearing for a lake tsunami. The local people told reporters that the shaking lasted for approx. 1 minute. Most people were enjoying dinner when the shaking started.
So far no casualties were reported. However, a dock on Lake Towuti vanished (probably by the shaking).
The first damage inspection survey in the greater epicenter area revealed that hundreds of houses are left with cracks in the wall, many school buildings area also damaged.
Some houses are reported collapsed in the Malili district, approx. 30 km from Sorowako.
Sorowako residents are still scared. Officials did inform local people not to believe in the rumors of a potential lake tsunami."

We expect lesser damage than the M6.1 earthquake. Read more about the previous earthquake from last year here to get further insight into the region.

The earthquake was felt strongly in the epicentral region. Shakemaps are expecting a VII intensity, however from BMKG only intensity V. GOOGLE+ / FACEBOOK
"I Have Felt It" reports as received by
See below for all the received Earthquake Experience reports as received by

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : Mw5.8 (USGS), Ml5.7 (BMKG)
UTC Time :  Monday 16th April 2012 02:17 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Monday 16th April 2012 10:17 LT
Depth (Hypocenter) : 9.9km, 10km (BMKG)
Geo-location(s) : Wiwirano (18km), Larea (19km), Kolono (19km), Wawontoa (9km), Unsongi (18km).

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Shaking map
Focal mechanism report
Human impact map
GDACS earthquake report
I Have Felt this earthquake

SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Sulawesi, Indonesia Apr 16 02:17 5.7 30 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia Apr 16 02:17 5.8 22 MAP I Felt It
USGS Sulawesi, Indonesia Apr 16 02:17 5.8 9 MAP I Felt It


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I felt the shaking *
Country where you felt the earthquake *
City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
Shaking Strength *
MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
People :
Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
Fittings :
Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
Structures :
Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
People :
Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
Fittings :
Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
Structures :
Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
Fittings :
Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
Structures :
Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
Environment :
Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
Fittings :
Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
Structures :
Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
Environment :
Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
Tell us your experience and how many seconds the shaking lasted + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage). (max. 500 characters)
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