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M7.7 Java Earthquake, 2006


17 July 2006


South of Bambayang, Java


08:19:25 UTC (15:19:25 WIT)


9.334 S (NEIC)


107.262 E (NEIC)


10 kms (NEIC)


Mw 7.7 (HRV); ME 6.8 (NEIC);

Additional Info


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A major tsunami earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean, to the south-west of Java, Indonesia, on 17 July 2006 at 15:19 PM local time. The earthquake had a magnitude of Mw=7.7 and was felt at many places on the island of Java. A damaging local tsunami was observed along the south coast of Java and as a precautionary measure people were evacuated from coastal areas of countries as far as India.

The earthquake was centred 191 kms S of Bambayang (Java), Indonesia,
211 kms S of Sindangbarang (Java), Indonesia,
223 kms NE of The Settlement (Christmas Island), Australia,
265 kms SW of Cilacap (Java), Indonesia,
271 kms S of Bandung (Java), Indonesia,
357 kms SSE of Jakarta (Java), Indonesia,
633 kms WSE of Surabaya (Java), Indonesia.

The earthquake was felt throughout the island of Java including at Bandung, Cilacap & Yogyakarta. It was also felt in parts of West Java Province, especially from Pangandaran beach up to Cilacap and Kebumen Districts in Central Java Province. In the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, occupants of high-rise buildings felt tremors for 30-60 seconds and some buildings were vacated. The mainshock was followed by several strong aftershocks including a Mw=6.2 at 09:13 UTC, a Mw=6.0 at 10:09 UTC and a Mw=6.3 at 15:45 UTC.

This earthquake produced a destructive local tsunami along the south coast of Java. 668 people were confirmed dead with another 65 listed as missing as of 5 August 2006. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a "Tsunami Watch" for Indonesia & Australia immediately after the earthquake. The low shaking intensities along the coast of West Java, including at Pangandarang, during the main earthquake did not result in alarm and therefore many people did not perceive the imminent danger of a tsunami. The only warning  sign was what eyewitnesses described as a withdrawal of the sea up to 1,500-metres that was then followed 30-minutes later by a tsunami with waves estimated to have been up to 6-metres high. Many buildings were damaged, including several hotels, at Pangandarang. The tsunami was also observed at Sindangbarang in West Java and on Samas Beach in Yogyakarta. The 2x300 MW powerplant at Cilacap was also affected by the tsunami and despite attempts to keep it functional, it had to be shut down.

It was also recorded on Bali in Indonesia and in the Cocos Island, Australia. A tide gauge on Christmas Island, Australia, recorded a wave that was 60-centimetres in height. Warnings & advisories were issued by many countries around the Indian Ocean. The residents of the Australian Christmas Island had 20-minutes prior warning to head for higher ground. In India, beaches & coastal areas were vacated along the east coast including Marina Beach in Chennai while the Andaman & Nicobar islands were placed on high alert. Alerts were also sounded at Kakinada, Srikakulam & West Godavari in Andhra Pradesh and at Digha & the Sankarpur Harbour in West Bengal. In Sri Lanka, TITLEhough no warnings or watches were in effect, residents were urged to be cautious for unusual but minor tidal fluctuations.

The mechanism of this earthquake is thought to have been similar to an Mw=7.6 event off Nicaragua in 1992 and an Mw=7.8 event off East Java in 1994. Both produced disproportionate lower levels of ground shaking in comparison to their magnitudes.

01) National Earthquake Information Centre (NEIC), Golden, USA.
02) Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solution (HRV), Harvard, USA.
03) Macroseismic information has been compiled by the ASC from reports by local media and local NGO personnel.

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International boundaries of India (especially Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) on the displayed map are from Google Maps. These do not conform to the external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India. That they are displayed on this page via Google Maps, is only for display purposes and this should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of these boundaries by the Amateur Seismic Centre (ASC).

Page Updated: 22 Feb 2008 | Website Disclaimer

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