Days of Shakes Hit Bali

T hree earthquakes gave Bali an unaccustomed shake-up this week. The first, at 7.06am last Saturday, measured 6.4 on the Richter scale and caused injuries and property damage over a wide area of southern Bali. Its epicentre was 101 kilometres southeast of Nusa Dua and 36km below the seabed.

A second shock, measuring 4.3, struck at 10.26am on Wednesday. It caused buildings to shake in the Nusa Dua and Bukit areas, but no damage was reported. Seismologists said its epicentre was much closer to Nusa Dua – only 59km southeast and 82km below the seabed.

On Thursday morning, Bukit-area residents reported a third, very minor and short but sharp temblor. It did not show up on seismic measuring equipment in Bali, according to the geological service here (BMG), but buildings in the area shook briefly.

Saturday’s shake, the biggest to hit Bali for some years, resulted in 10 injuries – including to people who panicked and leapt from the upper stories of buildings in Denpasar – and briefly sparked the tsunami klaxons into action at Kuta and Sanur beaches.

The US Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide, said the quake was too small and too deeply below the sea bed to cause a tsunami.

The roof of the Ramayana shopping centre in Denpasar collapsed. No one was in the building at the time. But three schools in the Denpasar area were damaged and students injured – none seriously – by falling masonry and roof structures.

Elsewhere in Bali some temple structures were damaged, including priceless antique timber doors.

Students getting ready to plant trees for an environmental project at Padang Galak, on the coast just north of Sanur, were sent home as a precaution. But a beach clean-up day at Sanur, organised by the Australian Consulate-General, went ahead as planned at 9am.

Schools in Klungkung regency sent students home after some became hysterical and worried parents began arriving to check on the welfare of their children.

Saturday’s Bali shake was also felt in Lombok and Sumbawa.

Tourists in Kuta and at Nusa Dua and Sanur reported being alarmed by Saturday’s quake and the tsunami klaxons. Many rushed from their rooms at hotels in Kuta and elsewhere.

The Bali quakes were part of a series of temblors recorded from Sumatra to Sulawesi in recent days.

Much of the archipelago, including Bali, lies on the vertical fault between the Australasian and Eurasian plates. The Australasian plate is moving northwards at around 4cm a year, causing serious pressures to build up along the fault line.

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