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21 Biggest Earthquakes in Indonesia (Destructed)

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Earthquake is a vibration from the earth due to releases it energies. Then, it suddenly marked by the breaking of rock layers in crust. On the other hand, the word earthquake indicate the occurrence. Meanwhile, earth is solid and always moving around. Therefore, sometimes, earthquake occur when there are pressure on the large movement. Then, the release of energy caused by pressure exerted in moving plates. The longer pressure reach situation that it can not detained again by slab outskirts. So, earthquake occurs immediately.


Types of Earthquake

Meanwhile, in general, there are three types of earthquake. Such as:


The movement of tectonic plates in earth’s crust. When two plates meet, it collects the energy until rocks in tectonic plates are not able to resist the movement. As a result, there was a sudden release and able to vibrate the crust with the great force.


The activities of magma happens before the volcano erupted. Explosion occurred after magma activities increase highly. Then, it will lead to the occurrence of earthquakes.


Earthquakes occurred due to the debris layer. The operations of mining in underground remains several caves. So, when it collapsed, the earth’s surface will vibrate. Meanwhile, this type of earthquake is the weakest among others.

Richer Scale

Richer scale is a measure of magnitude or the amount of energy released by an earthquakes. It also known as magnitude on the richer scale or local magnitude scale. Then, the calculation is using a Seismograph. Charles F. Richter developed richer scale in 1935. He was from the California Institute of Technology.

Indonesian Earthquakes

Indonesia is known as the country with most disastrous occurred. One of them is earthquakes. However, there are reason why Indonesia occurres earthquake frequently. In view of the tectonic plates, on the western side of the island of Sumatra, Java, Bali, NTT and NTB plates are meeting zones. It between Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates. Then, the movement of plates cause earthquakes, volcanoes, and other disasters.

So, many biggest earthquakes occurred in Indonesia even in short time. There are several earthquakes which has highly measure of richer scale.

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Sumatra Island

The most earthquakes occurred in Indonesia happened in Sumatra. It because the position of island is around with oceans, volcanoes, and other natural creatures which led the disasters.

1.Kerinci Earthquake in 1995 (7,0 SR)

The massive earthquake occurred at dawn in the west side of Sumatra central region in October 7, 1995. The worst impact perceived in Semurup, capital city of Kerinci district. Then, the historical records said that up to 73 people deaths, 59 serious injuries and 193 minor injuries.

First quake occurred at 1:10 PM with the power up to 7,0 SR. Then followed by second quake with 6.7 SR in next seven minutes. The destroyed building entirely 4.280 pieces and spread across districts such as Danaukerinci, Mount Kerinci, Gunungraya, Airhangat, Sungaipenuh, and Sitinjaulaut. Moreover, earthquake felt up to Jambi, Padang, Pekanbaru even Singapore.

2.Mentawai Earthquake in 2010 (7,2 SR)

Earthquake, massive earthquake, destroyed earthquake. huge earthquakeMentawai earthquake occurred on October 10, 2010. At least 200 houses in Mentawai island swept away by Tsunami shortly after earthquake up to 7,2 Richer scale. It measuring about 7.7 on the Richter scale was centered about 20 km below sea level. Then, as November 9, 2010, The amount of death reached 156 people found.

Morever, the total of killed people up to 256 people. On the other hand, the value of damage and loss in infrastructure sector of Mentawai islands due to earthquake reach 19,16 billion.

Then, The damage occurred almost entirely in sub-sector transportation like roads and bridges. Those reach 17,24 billion and 1,8 billion of loss.

3.Bengkulu Earthquake in 2000 (7,3 SR)

Bengkulu earthquake has occurred in June 2000. The tectonic earthquake with 7,3 richer scale has rocked island. Then, the epicenter of earthquake is on the plate collision zone of the Java-Sumatra. Meanwhile, center of earthquake is in the Indian Ocean at a position about 100 KM Southwestern city of Bengkulu. Moreover, the movement of the Indian-ocean plate to the east and the impingement plate Eurasian continent occurred the earthquake.

On the other hand, the quake was also felt in various cities in western Indonesia. In Jakarta, the vibe felt like a real. While in Lampung and south Sumatra, the wall swayed. At least 15,000 houses were severely damaged, and 29 940 with minor damage. Moreover, it destroyed 566 building kindergartens, 418 primary schools, 81 junior secondary schools, and 31 high school. Then the public places such as 13 churches, 377 mosques, three temples, 35 health centers , 68 public health centers and others.

4.Bengkulu Earthquake in 2007 (7,9 SR)

Earthquake, massive earthquake, destroyed earthquake. huge earthquakeAn earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale (SR) occurred in Bengkulu in September 12 at 18:10 PM. The epicenter located about 10 km underground and 105 km off the Sumatra’s coast, while 600 km from Jakarta. Moreover, the main quake also followed by a tidal wave and flooded at least 300 houses and public buildings in Pagai, Mentawai island up to one meter. Then, the earthquake occurred due to the subduction of the Indian Ocean to the bottom of the Sunda Trench. It located just below the island of Sumatra. This movement is from south to north with sloping subduction. The victims of the quake about 35 people killed and 200 injured.

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5. West Sumatra Earthquake in 2009 (7,9 SR)

Earthquake, massive earthquake, destroyed earthquake. huge earthquakeThe West Sumatra earthquake occurred with strength of 7,6 Richer scale off the coast West Sumatra. It happened in September 30 about 17:16 pm. Then, the quake caused several damage in some areas such as Padang Pariaman, south coast, Pariaman City, Bukittinggi, Padang Panjang, Agam, Solok, and West Pasaman. Moreover, the earthquake left at least 1100 people died, 2180 were injured. Then, 65 380 houses were damaged, and 78 604 minor damage houses. It includes office buildings, schools, hospitals, places of worship, markets, roads, and bridges.

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The worst damage caused lines and communications were cut off caused by debris of unsecured building construction. As well as the earthquake also occurred a mass exodus of citizens living near the coast moved to other places.

6.Mentawai Earthquake in 2016 (8,3 SR)

The quake occurred around 19:49 pm in February 3, 2016 at 682 km of Southwestern Mentawai island. Then, the earthquake caused by activity of the subduction zone from a collision or subduction of between Indo-Australian to Eurasia plate. Position of earthquake occured between 5,16 of south altitude and 94.05 east longitude in 10 km above sea level.

Then, when earthquake happened, most of people in west Sumatra ran away to the highest lands such as Karang Putih. Meanwhile, people in beach coast escaped with their car or motorcycles toward the hills to avoid unwanted bad things happened. The management of hospitals also evacuated their patient to the safe places. It also damage lines and communications so families in outer Mentawai find difficult to knew about the latest information of their siblings. However, the latest news said that there is no victims occurred in this big scale earthquake.

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7.West Sumatra Earthquake in 1797 (8,4 SR)

Earthquake occurred in 1797 was the first big earthquakes in Sumatra. It ruptured part between Sumatra segment and Sunda megathrust. So, it caused a horrible Tsunami near of Padang city, which one of England ship forced up to 1 km reached inland of Arau river. Then, the vibration of earthquake lasted for one minute.

On the other hand, the earthquake caused collapse or destruction many houses. In Air Manis region, the whole area flooded and some people’s body and crops  who tried to climb tree for escape found in next day. Therefore, It recognized as the strongest earthquake ever happened in Indonesia.

8.West Sumatra Earthquake in 1861 (8.5 SR)

This earthquake is the next series of 1797 earthquake. It happened in February. However, it also the latest series of ruptured parts between Sumatra segment and Sunda megathrust. the worst impact of this earthquake was a Tsunami occurred and caused thousand people deaths. Moreover, the quake felt in as far as the peninsula of Malaysia and Eastern part of Java.

9.North Sumatra Earthquake in 2005 (8,6 SR)

Earthquake in North Sumatra occurred in March 2005. This earthquake commonly known as Nias earthquake. Then, the center of earthquake located at 30 km below Indian ocean surface. It reported about 444 people dead with 340 found in Nias and the others in South Nias.

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10. West Sumatra Earthquake in 1833 (8,8 SR)

In 1833, a massive earthquake occurred off the coast of central Sumatra in Indonesia. It generated a destructive tsunami that have affected Sumatra, the Indian Ocean basin and the entire west coast of Australia. Then, it caused the outbreak of the subduction zone about 1,000 km southeast. On the other hand, earthquake measuring 8.8 to 9.2 happened when Indonesia still colonized by Netherlands. Moreover, the quake felt for a few minutes in several areas such as Padang and Bengkulu.

On the other hand, this earthquake damaged a lot of buildings even caused Tsunami. The large wave hit west coast of Sumatra and victims were uncountable.

11. Bengkulu Earthquake in 2012 (8,9 SR)

Earthquake, massive earthquake, destroyed earthquake. huge earthquakeEarthquake occurred in April 11, 2012 with the strength of 8.9 Richer Scale. It occurred at 2,31 Northern longitude and 92,67 eastern longitude. Then, the epicenter was at 29 km Northwest of North Bengkulu. So, it was the biggest earthquake ever happened in Indonesia.

On the other hand, earthquake felt strong enough even the shock occurred approximately for 10 minutes. It caused by the movement of the strike-slip-fault. So, it gave a big impacts in several countries. In Campbell Bay, the Nicobar Islands, India, tidal waves reached up to 3.9 meters, and Port Blair waves reached 1.5 meters.

12. Aceh earthquake in 2004 (9,1 – 9,3 SR)

Earthquake, massive earthquake, destroyed earthquake. huge earthquakeThe devastating earthquake occurred in Indian ocean, the west coast of Aceh in December 2004. Without prediction and warning,  Indonesia and several Southeast Asia regions struck by a terrifying shock.

Meanwhile, It caused by the Indian plate and the Burma plate drifted, coincide with each other, and finally shake the affected area with a strength of approximately 9.2 Richer scale. Then, the biggest disaster called Tsunami occurred.

Giant waves arise as high as 30 meters and hit several areas such as Aceh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, even the east coast of Africa. Tsunami waves reached 9 meters. On the other hand, the duration of the earthquake before the tsunami is the longest in history. At that time the earth shocked  approximately 8 to 10 minutes. After that, the sea water was receding from the shoreline in several areas.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the death toll reached up to 283 .100, 14 000 people were missing and 1.126.900 homeless. Then,Indonesia became country that suffered damage and most casualties. It claimed more than 165, 708 victims. Mostly the people lived in Aceh. Moreover, dozens of buildings were destroyed, especially in Meulaboh and Banda Aceh. So, Aceh earthquake in 2004 is the third most powerful earthquake ever recorded.

Java Island

The next island with most of earthquake happened is Java. There are several cities ever experienced the biggest earthquake. Such as:

1.Jogjakarta Earthquake in 2006 (6.3 SR)

Earthquake, massive earthquake, destroyed earthquake. huge earthquakeJogjakarta rocked by a massive earthquake in May 27, 2006. The epicenter was 38 km in south Jogjakarta at a depth reached 33 km above sea level. Earthquake happened at dawn approximately in 05:55 pm for only 57 seconds. However, it damaged more than 5800 people then 37,000 people were injured, 84,000 homes flattened to the ground, and  200,000 homes suffered minor damage. Then, the Jogjakarta earthquake recognized as the huge quake ever happened in Java approximately the first quake with most destroyed buildings.

On the other hand, the earthquake occurred caused of Opak fault stretched from the coast to the Bantul Prambanan length of 40 km in the direction 30⁰NE (Northeast-Northeast).

Then, it categorized as destroyer earthquake because of several reasons There are based on the strength of the earthquake, the earthquake types, and soil conditions. Moreover, the impact of quake also destroy some public facilities, historic sites and tourist sites . Such as:

  1. Ambarukmo Plaza Mall
  2. Rogo Sport buildings
  3. High School STIE
  4. Indonesian Art Institute
  5. Prambanan Temple
  6. Imogiri Grave
  7. Trajumas ward
  8. Adi Sutjipto airport.

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2. West Java Earthquake in 2006 (7,7 SR)

On Monday, July 17, 2016 at 15:19 pm, An earthquake occurred in Pangandaran beach, West Java. The earthquake caused a tsunami up to 21 meters and destroyed a house on the south coast of Java.

There was a signs of tsunami would occurred at this time. Approximately 40 percent of people in Cilacap, Sukaresik, Wonoharjo, and Pangandaran didn’t feel the quake before the tsunami came. Indeed, tsunami has slightly different characteristic than general impact. The tremors were not perceived by people in beach area. So, about 450 people  injured and 52,700 people homeless.

3. Tasikmalaya Earthquake in 2009 (7,7 SR)

The earthquake occurred at noon around 14:55 pm and shocked most of west Java region in September 2009. Then, the epicenter was in 142 km of Tasikmalaya with a depth approximately up to 30 km above sea level. There are reason why earthquake occurred. It caused by there are friction in Indian-Australian plate which eroded the Australian plate. The movement up to  7-10 km per year. Moreover, the earthquake rocked a vast area along between Lampung, Surabaya,  Pelabuhan Ratu, and Jakarta. Then, Data recorded was 80 people died with 1250 people injured and up to 47 residents missing.

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Nusa Tenggara Island

Nusa Tenggara Island located in East Indonesia with many Seas and ocean around. However, in fact, Nusa Tenggara often experience the biggest earthquake and only mosty small earthquake with small impacts.

1.Sumbawa Earthquake in 1977 (7,0 SR)

Friday, August 19th 1977, around 13:00 pm, occurred the earthquake with the strength approximately up to 8 Richer scale. Epicenter of the earthquake is in Indonesian Ocean, north-west of Sumba Island (NTT). However, it didn’t give a big impacts. The wall of buildings cracked except tower buildings which suffered a lot caused by the vibration of the horizontal due a long duration. At least, 198 people dead and up to 1000 people injured.

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2. Flores Earthquake in 1992 (7,8 SR)

Earthquake, massive earthquake, destroyed earthquake. huge earthquakeThe tectonic earthquake occurred in December 12,1992.  It reached up to 7,5 Richer scale and  destroyed a whole Flores. Then, the epicenter was located at a depth of 15 km below sea level and 50 km Northwest Maumere town. Vibration felt on the Bali Island. Moreover, the quake has indicated tsunami occurred.  It reached the coast of Flores just two minutes after the first quake and the northern coast within five minutes.

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On the other hand, the quake caused by fault lies between Cape Batumanuk epicenter and Tanjung Bunga at northeastern island. Meanwhile, there are 1,951 people dead and 2,126 people suffered several injuries. Mostly in head and chest. Moreover, there were 600 schools, 135 public buildings, and 25,000 houses were destroyed.

Maluku Island

Maluku Earthquake in 1899 (7,8 SR)

Earthquake happened on September 30 causing a considerable damage. The epicenter located in southern coast of Seram island. It caused by friction in the ground and take a several minutes when the quake occurred. Then, several damaged occurred in North and East of Seram Island. Moreover, the quake also felt in Ternate, Kei, Sula Islands. In some places, the coastal area has decreased steep surfaces. Then, right After an earthquake, followed by a tsunami.

Sulawesi Island

Buol Earthquake in 2008 (7,7 SR)

The earthquake happened in the northern Central Sulawesi, which occurred at 1:10 pm. Vibration felt quite hard in Buol District. However, the quake did not cause big fatalities, only many houses were damaged. There are includes houses and public facilities such as houses of worship, schools, and health facilities in four districts. Moreover, the area that suffered the most damage is the District Bonubogu and Paleleh.

Papua Island

Papua experienced two largest earthquake in several cities. Such as:

1.Manokwari Earthquake in 2009 (7,6 SR)

On January 4, 2009, the large quake occurred at two regions of Papua, Manokwari, and Sorong. It caused by the fault friction. Then, the depth quietly shallow about 35 km above sea level. The epicenter located in ocean within 10 km in depth about 129 km of Northwest Manokwari or 199 km Northeast of Sorong cities. At least four people deaths and 37 people injured. Then, 10 buildings completely destroyed.

2.Biak Earthquake in 1996 (8,2 SR)

Around 15:00 pm, the earthquake shocked were very loud about 8 Richter scale in Biak. The depth of the devastating earthquake about 33 km and Tsunami occurred. Then, the tsunami waves hit about 10-15 minutes immediately. Tsunami occurred with various heights in several areas. There were 4 meters in Manokwari, 7 meters in Sarmi, 6-7 meters in Korim (North Biak), 3-5 meters in Biak and 7 meters in Yapen cities. On the other hand, There were at least 108 people have died, 423 people were injured, 58 people were missing and 4,053 houses destroyed.

many Indonesian earthquake occurred due to the presence of high tectonic activity and shifting plates. So, the Indonesian people, especially in the Sumatran always warned and aware of the possibility of an earthquake is going to happen.

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