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M8.4  South Mentawai Strait-Bengkulu Earthquake, 2007


12 Sept 2007 *Red Star*


NW of Barhau, Enggano Isl.


11:10:26 UTC


4.519 S (NEIC)


101.346 E (NEIC)


10.0 kms (NEIC)


Mw 8.4 (HRV); Me 8.0 (NEIC)

Additional Info

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A great earthquake (red star) struck the southern Mentawai Strait and adjoining parts of Bengkulu province, Sumatra on 12 September 2007 at 18:10 PM local time in Sumatra, Indonesia causing damage, casualties and generating tsunami. It had a magnitude of Mw=8.4 and tsunami warnings & watches were issued for the Indian Ocean basin in its wake. The earthquake was felt over a wide region of the western Indonesian archipelago, parts of the Indo-China peninsula and even as far west as Male in the Maldive Islands. This main earthquake (red star) was followed the next day by two large earthquakes of Mw=7.9 (pink star) at 06:49 AM local time and Mw=7.0 (yellow star) at 10:35 AM local time. Both were strongly felt in the region and resulted in protracted tsunami warnings for Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Secondary Event : 13 Sep 2007, Mw=7.9 South Mentawai-West Bengkulu Earthquake  

The earthquake was centred 127 kms NW of Barhau (Enggano Island), Indonesia,
129 kms SW of Bengkulu (Sumatra), Indonesia,
134 kms SW of Lais (Sumatra), Indonesia
173 kms W of Manna (Sumatra), Indonesia,
183 kms SE of Tiop (Pangai Selatan), Indonesia,
218 kms S of Mukomuko (Sumatra), Indonesia,
448 kms WNW of Tanjung Telukbetong (Sumatra), Indonesia,
637 kilometres WNW of Jakarta (Java), Indonesia,
19 kms SSW of Changi International Airport, Singapore,
769 kms SE of Gunungsitoli (Nias Island), Indonesia,
1320 kms SE of Banda Aceh (Sumatra), Indonesia,
2706 kms SE of Sri Jayawardanepura-Kotte (Western Province), Sri Lanka,
3054 kms SE of Chennai (Tamil Nadu), India,
3257 kms ESE of Male, Maldives.

Amateur Video from Padang, Sumatera Barat

The first Mw=8.4 event is the strongest earthquake off Sumatra since March 2005 and the strongest in this immediate region since the June 2000 earthquake. Two powerful earthquakes of Mw=7.9 and Mw=7.0 occurred within 24-hours of this Mw=8.4 event, the larger of the two presumably a separate earthquake in itself and not an aftershock.

At least 25 people died and 119 injured in this earthquake. It was strongly felt at Tuapejat in the Mentawai Islands. According to the National Co-ordination Board for Disaster Management at least 88,496 buildings suffered damage of varying degrees out of which 17,965 were destroyed Bengkulu & Sumatera Barat provinces. Scores of houses were heavily damage or had cracks in their walls in the North and South Pagai Islands in the Mentawai Islands Regency. Buildings have collapsed at Bengkulu, Mukomuko and Padang on Sumatra. The hospital at Bengkulu sustained damage and was unable to provide services. The airport suffered minor damage but was still operational after the quake. Fires were also reported from the city of Padang at a mall as well as at several private residences. During the earthquake in the city, parked cars were seen shaking and the ground seen moving "up and down". Damage was also reported from Bandar Lampung. The earthquake was felt strongly at Jakarta on Java, sending many people running outdoors. Tremors were experienced in the provinces of Bengkulu, Lampung, Riau, Sumatera Uttara and Sumatera Barat. It was also felt in central Java. Power failures and disruption of communications facilities were reported from Sumatra, Indonesia.

Amateur Video from Singapore

Elsewhere in the region, tremors were felt in many parts of Malaysia. In the southern city of Johor Bahru it was felt at Banda Hilir, Bukit Cagar, Bukit Saujana, Gelang Patah, Taman Desa Cemerlang and Ujong Pasir. It was also felt at Putrajaya and in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, it was felt at Cheras, Jalan Duta, Jalang Klang Lama, Jalan Pudu, Kepong, Padan Jaya, Petaling Jaya and Setapak sending people running out of tall buildings including the Petronas Towers. Minor cracks developed in residential quarters of the Hospital Kuala Lumpur. At Melaka/Malacca, it was felt at Bukit Beruang, Bukit Serangit and Taman Melaka Raya. Tremors were also felt at Penang & Petaling Jaya. Sink holes opened at three locations in Ipoh on the night of the 12th and Malaysian authorities did not rule out of the possibility that they were related to this earthquake. In Singapore, the earthquake was felt in high-rise buildings throughout the city. In the Central Business District (CBD) they were felt at Battery Road, Market Street and Robinson Way. Many officer workers evacuated into the streets causing traffic jams in many areas. In an isolated instance, a "rock" fell from the Robinson Tower in the CBD. Elsewhere in the nation state, it was felt at Marsiling, Novena, Paris Ris, Potong Pasir Avenue, Raffles Place, Toa Payoh and Thomson road. In Thailand, the shock was felt as far as Bangkok & in one instance, a seismic seiche was generated in the Saen Saeb Canal in the city. People ran out of high-rise buildings at Silom, Sathorn and Ratchadaphisek in the city. The earthquake was also felt more than 3,200 kilometres to the west in high-rise buildings in Male in the Maldives with residents in some cases stating glasses on tables fell during the tremors.

A tsunami was generated by this earthquake and was recorded at several locations in the Indian Ocean. The tsunami propagated along the Indian Ocean coast of Sumatra and Java reaching Sabang at 13:19 GMT (wave heights=WH= 0.16 metres) and Cilacap at 13:13 GMT (WH=0.52 metres). It also fanned out into the Indian Ocean, arriving at the Australian Cocos Islands at 12:28 GMT (WH=0.24m), Ko Taphao Noi on Phuket Island, Thailand at ~15:05 GMT (WH=0.08m), Trincomalee on the east coast of Sri Lanka at 14:58 UTC (WH=0.6m), Colombo on the west coast of Sri Lanka at 15:19 GMT (WH=0.6m), Diego Garcia in the British administered BIOT at 15:20 GMT (WH=0.09m), at Male in the Maldives at 15:31 GMT (WH=0.21m), Rodriguez Island in Mauritius at 17:04 GMT (WH=1.14m), Port Larue in the Seychelles at 19:06 GMT (WH=0.4m), Salalah in Oman at 19:23 GMT (WH=1.31m) and Masirah also in Oman at 20:53 GMT (WH=0.07m). It was also recorded at Lamu in Kenya. The largest wave heights away from the Sumatra coast were recorded on Rodriguez Island and at Salalah, Oman.

 Tsunami warnings and watches were issued for countries and territories in the Indian Ocean basin including Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania and Thailand only to be lifted after the emergency had passed. In Sumatra, a 3-metre tsunami is believed to have struck Bengkulu city and other parts of North Bengkulu disitrict. A tsunami also struck Muara Maras, Serangai and Urai in north Bengkulu district to the north of Bengkulu causing damage to several buildings. At Muara Maras, residents described the recession of the sea followed by a tidal surge. Tidal flooding was also reported from villages to the south of Bengkulu. "Waist deep" flooding was reported from the Pagai Islands in the southern Mentawai Island chain off the Bengkulu coast.

In India, alerts were issued throughout the Andaman & Nicobar Islands as well as on the mainland on all east coast states of Andhra Pradesh (eg. East Godavari, Nellore, Ongole & Rajamundhry), Orissa (Balasore to Ganjam), Tamil Nadu (eg. Chennai, Kanyakumari, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin) & West Bengal (24-Parganas, East & West Midnapur) as well as Kerala (eg. Thiruvananthapuram) and Karnataka (eg. Mangalore & Udupi) on the west coast. At Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Marina Beach and the Foreshore estate areas that were hard hit in December 2004 were evacuated. In Sri Lanka, people evacuated to safer places at Ampara, Batticaloa, Colombo, Dehiwala, Galle, Jaffna and Killinochi among other places. Outside Galle, the Ruhunu Kumari train was stopped halfway through its journey, passengers being asked to disembark and were taken to the upper floor of the district secretariat and patients were also moved from the Mahamodara Hospital that was damaged in December 2004. At Colombo, worshippers at the Bambalapitiya Mosque were evacuated as well. A few traffic minor accidents were reported on the Galle-Matara road as a result of panic that gripped the area. And in a few potentially dangerous instances, people gathered along the coastline to watch for any unusual activity in the sea. In Bangladesh, loudspeakers alerted people and were then evacuated schools, colleges & cyclone shelters at Cox's Bazaar, Pataukhali (Galachipa, Kalapara & Kuakuta upazilas) as well as on Sandwip. Ships were asked to return to port at Chittagong. In Myanmar, residents of Maungdaw, Sittwe and other towns in the Rakhine State on the Arakan coast fled to higher ground when news spread about the possibility of a tsunami. Memories of the widespread reach of the 2004 ocean-wide tsunami sparked concern as far as the coast of Africa. In Tanzania, night sea journeys were suspended, ferry services between Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar were delayed for several hours and public places along Mbezi Beach were closed.

01) International Seismological Centre (ISC), London.
02) National Earthquake Information Centre (NEIC), Golden, USA.
Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solution (HRV), Harvard, USA.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) Sea Level observations reported by ITIC.
05) Macroseismic information has been compiled by the ASC from reports by local media and local NGO personnel.

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