3/6/2007 Sumatra Earthquake

Updated 3/9/2007

A Magnitude 6.4 earthquake, which occurred at 3:49 GMT, 10:49 AM local time March 6, 2007 in southern Sumatra, Indonesia caused at least 52 deaths and over 500 serious injuries. Thousands are homeless. Most casulaties came when buildings collapsed, over 4,000 buildings were damaged, including homes, schools and mosques. The epicenter was 30 miles from the city of Padang and 580 miles NW of Jakarta. Buildings swayed as far away as Singapore, 250 miles away. People fled away from the coast fearing another tsunami, but this quake did not trigger one, since it was located on land, not undersea. A 6.1 Magnitude aftershock was felt 2 hours later. Thousands stayed outdoors, afraid that more aftershocks will cause more buildings to collapse,

Indonesia may be the most seismically active area of the world, with frequent earthquakes. This quake occurred on the Sumatra fault, which runs the length of the island. Unlike the powerful subduction quakes of December 26, 2004 and March 28, 2005 in which the Australian plate dives under the Sunda Plate, the Sumatra fault produces strike slip quakes in which the edge of the Sunda plate is being pulled sideways relative to the rest of the plate. The subduction quakes of 2004 and 2005 were located further up the coast, about 300-400 miles to the NW of this one.

This area is known for twin quakes, with almost identical quakes occuring within 3 hours of eachother in the same area in 1926.

(See the Plate Tectonics page for more information on these processes.) The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes.

The US Geological Survey page on this quake

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