People in south Bali felt the earth tremor on Monday evening as a 3.7 magnitude earthquake occurred 7km off shore. There have been no reports of injury or damage, shallow earthquakes under a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale are common in Bali and the surrounding islands.
The tremor started at 5.09 pm on Monday 25th July. The Head of the Emergency and Logistics Division of Badung Regency, I Ketut Murdita explained to local reporters that after an initial analysis of the data, including the epicenter and the depth of the hypocenter, this was a shallow earthquake. It was caused by a strike-slip fault on the seabed.
Murdita said ‘the results of [our] analysis show that this earthquake has a magnitude of M3.7. The epicenter is located at coordinates 8.76° South Latitude; 115.28° East Longitude, or to be precise, located in the sea at a distance of 7 km northeast of South Kuta, Bali at a depth of 11 km’.
People in Denpasar city, Kuta, and Jimbaran could feel the tremor that is said to have lasted less than a minute. Local reports also confirm that residents and visitors in the Gianyar regency could also feel the shake. Murdita confirmed that tsunami modeling has been completed as this earthquake poses no tsunami potential.
He went on to say ‘”The results of [our] monitoring show that there is no aftershock activity. The public is advised to remain calm and not be influenced by issues that cannot be justified. In order to avoid cracked or damaged buildings caused by the earthquake’.
Local reports also confirmed an even smaller earthquake that measured 3.0 on the Richter scale that occurred on Saturday. The earthquake was located approximately 15km southwest of Tabanan at a depth of 96km.
Dozens of small quakes happen every day in Bali, the surrounding islands, and off the coast. Many cannot be felt due to the low magnitude and depth. The secondary concern about earthquakes in Bali is that they can trigger a tsunami.
According to the Emergency and Logistics Division of Badung Regency, there were 130 earthquakes detected between 15-22nd July. These 130 earthquakes were detected in the Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara regions.
Communities across Bali regularly practice earthquake and tsunami drills. As an island, Bali sits within the Ring of Fire, also known as the Circum-Pacific Belt. It is an area within the Pacific and Indian Oceans that has many active volcanos and is susceptible to earthquakes.
The Ring of Fire traces the boundaries between many tectonic plates, including the Indian-Australian plate where Bali lies. Protocols are in place to deal with any potential natural disaster that could occur. There are six volcanos on the island of Bali, Agung, Batur, Bratan, Merck, Patas and Seraja.
Mount Agung is the island’s active volcano whose typical eruption style is described as ‘highly explosive’. In 2017 Mount Agung awoke and displayed signs of increasing ‘unrest’. Seismic activity has been noticeably quieter since 2019.
The last tsunami event in Bali was in 2004, the Box Day Tsumani also devastated other parts of Indonesia, the most significant Aceh in Sumatra which was closets to the epicenter. The tsunami also affected Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu in India, as well as Thai islands. Bali’s Tsunami Danger Zones are Kuta, Tanjung Veboa and Sanur.
Bali’s tsunami warning system is in place, if triggers there will be six loud sirens that go off for 3-minutes. According to protocol, these warning systems give people 15-20 minutes to evacuate the red zones. Trained officials will spring into action and coordinate an island-wide evacuation response.
This week’s earthquake has been confirmed to not be a cause for concern. There are no active weather warnings for Bali or surrounding tourist islands this week.
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