Very strong earthquake in Sulawesi, Indonesia generates damage and injuries - May 29, 2017

Update 12:01 UTC:  An overview graphic from the very well organized BNPB civil defense, translated in English :
* 18 destroyed houses
* 7 slightly damaged houses
* 5 seriously injured people
* 16 slightly injured people
* 170 displaced persons

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-30 om 13.55.16

Update 07:27 UTC:  We can now already concluded that this earthquake was a lucky escape of worse. The initial Magnitude and depth was awaiting bad news but after looking into the earthquake characteristics it became clear than not the dangerous strike-slip happened but a mainly extensional movement. The images show that the damage is after all acceptable as only some older buildings sustained damage.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-30 om 09.21.26

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-30 om 09.24.33


Update 22:42 UTC BNPB Indonesia reports that a number of older buildings and bridges have been destroyed by the shaking. Several people were injured. So far no word on fatalities. The attention still focuses on Poso, the biggest city in the area. No word as yet from the smaller communities. 

Update 22:38 UTC:  Today's earthquake was the biggest one in the Poso region since 20 years

Update 16:59 UTC:  Slight damage in a supermarket in Poso, approx. 35 km from the epicenter.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 18.57.27

Update 16:17 UTC: Luckily the epicenter of the earthquake is mainly unpopulated. The nearest settlements are located on the coast at approx. 10 to 15 km and inland at 20 to 25 km. It will take until morning light before we will know about eventual damage in these places. The yellow pin is the epicenter.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 18.21.56

Update 16:13 UTC:  The earth also shook in West Sulawesi in locations like Majene, Mamuju and Polman. This is the first damage picture coming from an older building in Poso.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 18.10.57

Update 15:35 UTC:  The image below shows that the main movement will be extensional = one plate moving away from the other one with a potential subsidence.
ER thinks that Fault Plane 2 will be the one which has occurred today.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 17.35.22

Update 15:09 UTC:  The focal mechanism shows some relief as it is not the so often deadly strike-slip but more an extensional earthquake.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 17.04.06-compressed

Update 15:08 UTC:  USGS reports a M6.6 earthquake at a depth of 11.3 km.

Update 15:08 UTCProfessor Max Wyss, who specializes in theoretical prognoses of injuries and fatalities expects : 0 to 400 fatalities and 400 to 2000 injured people. Let's hope both are 0.

Update 14:57 UTC:  Below the seismogram as recorded in Luwuk, Sulawesi, Indonesia. The many peaks after the initial long fierce shaking are the many powerful aftershocks already generated.

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 16.56.51

Image courtesy Geofon

Update 14:54 UTC:  Based on the population maps of GDACS, approx. 260,000 people are living in the dangerous radius of approx. 50 km. 18000 people are living almost above the epicenter and 26000 in a also very vulnerable radius of 20 km.

Update 14:52 UTC:  As the epicenter is well below land, a tsunami is NOT to be expected.

Update 14:50 UTC:  ER calls the coastal city of Poso in real danger as  it is located only 38 km from the epicenter. If you add the initial uncertainty of the epicenter it can be closer of at a bigger distance from the city.

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Update 14:44 UTC

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 16.42.50

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-29 om 16.42.31

Map courtesy - Star: calculated epicenter - Small red dots: possible error margin for the epicenter, the more dense, the higher probability that the epicenter will be in that area. Orange circle: epicenter location error zone

438 km N of Makassar, Indonesia / pop: 1,322,000 / local time: 22:35:21.8 2017-05-29
77 km SE of Palu, Indonesia / pop: 283,000 / local time: 22:35:21.8 2017-05-29
38 km W of Poso, Indonesia / pop: 47,200 / local time: 22:35:21.8 2017-05-29

Damage report in cooperation with the 2017 Earthquake Impact Database
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Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 6.5

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2017-05-29 22:35:23

GMT/UTC Time : 2017-05-29 14:35:23

Depth (Hypocenter) : 13 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

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Click on the "I Felt It" button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

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SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia May 29 17:31 4.6 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • Pendolo - Moeilijk te bepalen...
  • Ampana - Ça a duré 5seconde on était plusieurs dans le restaurant est on c'est tous arêtes de manger l'espace d'un moment.
  • Luwuk - Weak shaking
  • GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia May 29 15:30 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
    USGS Kasiguncu, Indonesia May 29 15:30 4.5 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
    GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia May 29 15:18 5.0 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
    USGS Kasiguncu, Indonesia May 29 15:18 5.0 10 MAP
    GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia May 29 15:04 4.9 10 MAP
    USGS Kasiguncu, Indonesia May 29 15:04 5.1 10 MAP
    GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia May 29 15:03 4.9 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
    GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia May 29 14:53 5.0 10 MAP
    USGS Kasiguncu, Indonesia May 29 14:53 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
    GEOFON Sulawesi, Indonesia May 29 14:35 6.5 13 MAP I Felt It INFO
  • Poso - The strength of the many aftershocks is smaller than the early earthquake this evening.
  • Poso - Residents in Poso panicked and left their houses
  • USGS Kasiguncu, Indonesia May 29 14:35 6.8 9 MAP




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    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.
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