What Caused the Massive Magnitude-7 Indonesian Earthquake?

Clay Curtis
August 9, 2018

SENGGIGI, Indonesia Thousands left homeless by a powerful quake that ruptured roads and flattened buildings on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok sheltered Monday night in makeshift tents as authorities said rescuers hadn't yet reached all devastated areas and expect the toll of 98 dead to climb.

Indonesian rescue workers were still struggling Tuesday to reach the northern part of Lombok island, which was struck by a major 6.9 magnitude quake Sunday.

A woman's body was recovered from the rubble of a collapsed mosque in Bangsal district, in the north of the island.

The death toll is expected to rise, with one official telling reporters that 80 per cent of north Lombok has suffered damage.

The BNPB said more than 20,000 people had been displaced by the quake as it brought down or damaged some 13,000 houses, and many of those were living in open areas in need of food, medicine and other aid. "We hope the victims will have some help and relief over there right away".

The 30-year-old said a "big ferry" arrived at Gili Island, which had no electricity and dwindling food and water supplies, and she pushed her way through the hundreds-strong crowd begging the boat staff to let her family on board.

"We can help tourists to get to the airport but of course we can't buy them tickets for free", he said, adding that authorities were providing free accommodation, food and transport to those in need. "Clean drinking water is scarce due to the extremely dry weather conditions leading up the disaster".

The newspaper quoted a source as saying: "They certainly felt the quake".

Thousands of tourists have left Lombok since Sunday fearing further earthquakes.

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"We've had light earthquakes in the past, but never anything like this", said Marcel De Rijk, owner of Lombok boutique hotel chain Puri Mas Resort, whose beachside hotel and villas will stay closed until September for repairs.

"We don't get anything", he said while trying to rescue documents from his house.

In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 natural disaster off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

He was hosting a welcoming dinner for his regional counterparts and their delegations from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Myanmar when the quake struck.

Officials say all the tourists on the Gili islands, off the coast of Lombok, have now been evacuated.

Lombok, which is located east of Bali and makes up part of the Lesser Sunda Island chain, is a popular tourist destination known for mountains, beaches and surf.

Lombok's airport has reopened and has significantly increased the amount of flights coming in and out from the island. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

It killed at least 131 people and damaged tens of thousands of buildings, just a week after another tremor in the holiday island killed 17 people.

That's because the region sits smack-dab along the so-called ring of fire-an imaginary, horseshoe-shape line that follows the rim of the Pacific Ocean and marks spots where several tectonic plates collide.

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