BMKG urges calm following reports of potential megathrust earthquake in Bali

Photo illustration of a seismograph reading.
Photo illustration of a seismograph reading.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has urged the public not to panic following reports of the potential of a megathrust earthquake hitting southern Bali that has caused some hubbub lately. 

“Our suggestion from BMKG is that the public should not panic in responding to those reports and don’t be easily swayed by rumors or hoaxes that have not been confirmed,” Ikhsan, who heads the Geophysics Center in Denpasar, said yesterday.

Murmurs about a potential 8.7-magnitude earthquake hitting Bali have made national headlines this past week, after the possibility was mentioned by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and was based on a study published by the National Earthquake Research Center (Pusgen) in 2017. 

However, it’s very much worth mentioning that predicting earthquakes is not yet a thing, and scientists can only go so far as to calculate the probability that a significant earthquake might occur in a specific area within a certain number of years. 

“Those research were based on scientific endeavor, and it must be understood that a potential is not the same as prediction. So when exactly such an earthquake might hit is not something we can know, because there has yet to be technology that could predict an earthquake, where it can happen, and how big it is,” Ikhsan explained. 

He emphasized that those types of research are essential in improving disaster mitigation systems, which is crucial for countries like Indonesia, as it is one of the most disaster-hit nations on Earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide. 

A number of deadly earthquakes have occurred over the years, including the devastating 2004 tremor measuring 9.1 magnitude that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami, as well as the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) in 2018.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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