Earthquake risk in Indonesia: how worried should we be?

PLEASE NOTE: THE VENUE FOR THIS EVENT HAS CHANGED.
PLEASE NOTE: THE TIME FOR THIS EVENT HAS CHANGED.
Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics | Indonesia Project

Event details

Indonesia Study Group

Date & time

Wednesday 24 April 2019
12.30pm–2.00pm

Venue

McDonald Room, Menzies Library entry level, RG Menzies Building #2, ANU

Speaker

Phil R Cummins (Geoscience Australia and ANU)

Contacts

ANU Indonesia Project
+61 2 6125 5954

The 21st century began with a remarkable series of great earthquakes occurring off Sumatra, starting with the 2004 Great Sumatra Earthquake and culminating most recently in the 2018 Palu earthquake. While some have caused many deaths, none of the post-2004 events have resulted in fatalities on the massive scale of the 2004 Sumatra Earthquake and Indian Ocean Tsunami. Can we expect this trend to continue for future Indonesian earthquakes?

Risk for natural disasters is often expressed as a product of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. This implies that risk increases with each of hazard, exposure and vulnerability, but also shows that risk may increase dramatically if more than one of these factors increase. I will argue in this talk that all three factors comprising risk have increased markedly in Indonesia since the late 20th century.

The study will present a combination of modelling results, compilations of historical accounts and analyses of recent geodetic data that suggest that, although currently the Java-Bali region may be in a period of quiescence, the potential for large, destructive earthquakes is high, and that when such events occur their impacts are likely to be severe.

Phil R. Cummins received his PhD in Geophysics from University of California Berkeley in 1988 and worked as a postdoctoral and research fellow at The Australian National University until 1996, when he moved to the Japan Center for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). After leading a geodynamics research unit at JAMSTEC, in 2001 he took up a position leading earthquake and tsunami hazard research at Geoscience Australia (GA). In 2011, he accepted a joint appointment between GA and ANU as Professor of Natural Hazards, where he combines teaching and research in natural hazards at ANU with technical application of earthquake and tsunami science at GA.

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