Friday’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake that triggered the 20 feet tsunami in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi and killed over 1,200 people, is most likely to have detonated a volcano on the same Island.
In an interview with the local media, Indonesia’s Vulcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation agency said that there had been an increase in the Mount Soputan activity. “But so far, there is no concrete evidence to link the earthquake and the volcanic eruption”, said the agency. Reports highlight that Mount Soputan spewed ash 6,000 meters into the sky. Evacuation calls have not been made.
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Meanwhile, the Indonesian earthquake has left scientists puzzled as it was not the kind to cause tsunamis. According to the Guardian, the earthquake was caused by a strike-slip fault whereby tectonic plates move horizontally. Scientists believe that the earthquake “could have caused a large underwater landslide that displaced the water.”
Phil Cummins, a professor of natural hazards at the Australian National University described the double disaster as very much unusual. He told the Guardian that it would take months of field research and underwater exploration to determine the cause.
Scientists say that Indonesia is located between the world’s most active seismic region- Pacific Ring of Fire and the world’s second most active region – the Alpide Belt. As stated in LiveScience “the islands experience some of the strongest earthquakes and most powerful volcanic eruptions on Earth.”