Earthquake lifted Lombok by 25cm, scientists say

The powerful Lombok earthquake that killed more than 300 people has lifted the Indonesian island it struck by as much as 25 centimetres, scientists say.

Using satellite images of Lombok from the days following the 5 August earthquake, scientists from NASA and the California Institute of Technology’s joint rapid imaging project made a ground deformation map and measured changes in the island’s surface.

In the northwest of the island near the epicentre, the rupturing fault-line lifted the ground by a quarter of a metre. In other places it dropped by 5cm to 15cm.

About 270,000 people are homeless or displaced after the earthquake, which damaged or destroyed about 68,000 homes.

NASA said satellite observations could help authorities respond to earthquakes and other natural or man-made disasters.

Nearly a week since the earthquake, Lombok is still reeling but glimmers of normality are returning and devout villagers are making plans for temporary replacements of mosques that were flattened.

In Tanjung, one of the worst-affected districts in the hard-hit north of the island, a food market has opened. Some shops also opened for business despite being in damaged buildings.

Lombok, a popular and less developed tourist destination than neighbouring Bali, was hit by three strong earthquakes in a little over a week and has endured more than 500 aftershocks.

A 29 July earthquake killed 16 people. An aftershock measuring magnitude-5.9 on Thursday caused panic, more damage and more than two dozen injuries.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on an arc of volcanoes and fault-lines in the Pacific Basin.

In December 2004, a magnitude-9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

– ABC

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