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SCIENTISTS who examined last week's devastating earthquake in West Sumatra have come to an alarming conclusion: it was not ''the big one'' they have long been forecasting for Padang.
The region will likely feel the brunt of a powerful earthquake in coming years that will dwarf the ferocity of last week's quake and could be accompanied by a large tsunami, according to a top Indonesian seismologist.
Moreover, last week's quake has done little, if anything, to relieve the immense pressure building kilometres below the surface as the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates grind against each other.
''We had all been expecting one in West Sumatra, and when the earthquake happened last week, we all thought 'OK, this is the one we had been anticipating','' said Sri Widiyantoro, an Australian-trained geophysicist from the Bandung Institute of Technology. ''But now we have had a close look at it, we now know that it wasn't.''
Massive earthquakes on one side of the globe can weaken faults half a world away, scientists announced today.
A group of seismologists studying the massive 2004 earthquake that triggered killer tsunamis throughout the Indian Ocean found that the quake had weakened at least a portion of California's famed San Andreas Fault.
The finding, detailed in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Nature, suggests Earth's largest earthquakes can weaken fault zones worldwide and trigger periods of increased global seismic activity.
The announcement of the new link comes just one day after two different earthquakes rattled the Samoan Islands and Indonesia, the former generating a tsunami that has killed scores of people. Scientists aren't sure if these two temblors were related, but they said it is possible.
Tsunami panic as new quakes rock South Pacific
October 8, 2009 - 6:51PM
More aftershocks are expected in coming days after a series of powerful earthquakes triggered a tsunami alert for much of the South Pacific, including Australia’s northeast coast.
The latest tremors caused panic on many of the region’s remote islands just days after 184 people were killed when giant waves, whipped up by another earthquake, smashed into Samoa and neighbouring islands.
A warning was issued today by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre for some 25 countries and territories stretching as far as Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.