The 6.8 magnitude quake Thursday hit South Sumatra at 08:52 local time (01:52 GMT), about 89 miles (143 kilometers) from Bengkulu, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. The earlier quake Wednesday was 7.6 magnitude at 17:16 local time (10:16 GMT) some 85km (55 miles) under the sea, north-west of Padang.
At least 464 people were dead and more than 500 were injured, said Tugiyo Bisri, spokesman for the Indonesian Social Affairs Ministry's Crisis Center said Thursday. The worst hit was the West Sumatra capital of Padang, where 376 people perished, he said.
Padang, a city of more than 800,000 people, now have been badly damage. Known for distinctive cuisine, an important port to trade raw materials such as coffee, copper, rubber and cement. It runs along the fault line of the Eurasian and Pacific tectonic plates -- the same fault line that triggered 2004 tsunami of Aceh province.
Officials had little information on those who were missing and feared the death toll would climb into the thousands. Rustam Pakaya, the head of the Ministry of Health's crisis center said that thousands of people may be trapped by collapsed buildings and houses.
Officials were expecting casualties to surpass those of the massive Yogyakarta earthquake three years ago, given the intensity and the spread of the damage this week. The second set of tremors Thursday only magnified the scope of the disaster. In May 2006, a 6.3 magnitude quake centered in the central Java city of Yogyakarta quake killed more than 5,000 people and triggered fears of an eruption of a nearby volcano.
"We had aid ready because this area of Indonesia is susceptible to this type of tragedy," said Jane Cocking, humanitarian director for Oxfam. "Communications with the quake-zone are difficult and we are hoping for the best but having to plan for the worst."
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a tsunami watch for Indonesia, India, Thailand and Malaysia, but canceled it soon after. The quake did generate a tsunami just under one foot high, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
On Tuesday, a magnitude 8.0 quake-triggered tsunami killed at least 111 people in the Samoan islands and Tonga. The tsunami waves swept across a wide swath of the Pacific Ocean, killing dozens and flattening or submerging villages. The dead included 22 in American Samoa, 82 in Samoa and seven in Tonga. Officials warned that the death toll could rise as rescue workers start to reach outlying villages and discover new casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey declined to say whether the two quakes were linked. "The simple answer is we can't speculate on a connection," said Carrieann Bedwell of the USGS. "Both are in highly seismic areas." The epicenters of the two temblors are about 4,700 miles (7,600 km) apart.
What is earthquake?
An earthquake (also known as a tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes are recorded with a seismometer, also known as a seismograph. The moment magnitude of an earthquake is conventionally reported, or the related and mostly obsolete Richter magnitude, with magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes being mostly imperceptible and magnitude 7 causing serious damage over large areas. Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale.
At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacing the ground. When a large earthquake epicenter is located offshore, the seabed sometimes suffers sufficient displacement to cause a tsunami. The shaking in earthquakes can also trigger landslides and occasionally volcanic activity.
In its most generic sense, the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic event — whether a natural phenomenon or an event caused by humans — that generates seismic waves. Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear experiments. An earthquake's point of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter. The term epicenter refers to the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.
Mythology and religion
In Norse mythology, earthquakes were explained as the violent struggling of the god Loki. When Loki, god of mischief and strife, murdered Baldr, god of beauty and light, he was punished by being bound in a cave with a poisonous serpent placed above his head dripping venom. Loki's wife Sigyn stood by him with a bowl to catch the poison, but whenever she had to empty the bowl the poison would drip on Loki's face, forcing him to jerk his head away and thrash against his bonds, causing the earth to tremble.
In Greek mythology, Poseidon was the cause and god of earthquakes. When he was in a bad mood, he would strike the ground with a trident, causing this and other calamities. He also used earthquakes to punish and inflict fear upon people as revenge.
In Japanese mythology, Namazu is a giant catfish who causes earthquakes. Namazu lives in the mud beneath the earth, and is guarded by the god Kashima who restrains the fish with a stone. When Kashima lets his guard fall, Namazu thrashes about, causing violent earthquakes.
In modern popular culture, the portrayal of earthquakes is shaped by the memory of great cities laid waste, such as Kobe in 1995 or San Francisco in 1906. Fictional earthquakes tend to strike suddenly and without warning. For this reason, stories about earthquakes generally begin with the disaster and focus on its immediate aftermath, as in Short Walk to Daylight (1972), The Ragged Edge (1968) or Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (1998). A notable example is Heinrich von Kleist's classic novella, The Earthquake in Chile, which describes the destruction of Santiago in 1647. Haruki Murakami's short fiction collection, After the Quake, depicts the consequences of the Kobe earthquake of 1995.
The most popular single earthquake in fiction is the hypothetical "Big One" expected of California's San Andreas Fault someday, as depicted in the novels Richter 10 (1996) and Goodbye California (1977) among other works. Jacob M. Appel's widely-anthologized short story, A Comparative Seismology, features a con artist who convinces an elderly woman that an apocalyptic earthquake is imminent. In Pleasure Boating in Lituya Bay, one of the stories in Jim Shepard's Like You'd Understand, Anyway, the "Big One" leads to an even more devastating tsunami.
Believe It or Not
As a Muslim, I believe there is always a lesson from every incident. Is coincidence or not, the earthquake which destroyed the city of Padang is the first earthquake occurred at 17:16 local time. If it connected with verse 17:16, it is very concerning.
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