Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why geography will always curse Indonesia

Earthquakes, tsunami, thousands dead. Some people may think that Indonesia is cursed. In truth, it is cursed but only by its geographical position. Scientists say that Indonesia's position on our planet will always make it vulnerable to earthquakes. They also say that the clashing of continents in Indonesia will go on and the region can expect to see more deadly earthquakes. From Yahoo News:
"The problem with Indonesia is that you have an area of intense seismic activity coinciding with a very densely populated part of the world," said Gary Gibson, professor of seismology at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

"It means there will always be some terrible loss to earthquakes in Indonesia."

The plates of the planet's crust that float on the molten core of the Earth smash against each other constantly, but while those plates usually move only a little bit each year, those that meet at Indonesia move more quickly.

"These are probably the most active plates in the world -- one is moving at around seven centimetres (nearly three inches) a year," said Mark Leonard, seismologist at Geoscience Australia.

"That's incredibly fast and as a result it produces a lot of energy that has to be dissipated somehow," Leonard said. "And that is usually through earthquakes."

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