Tsunami, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Volcanic Eruptions and other Natural and Man-Made Hazards and Disasters - by Dr. George Pararas Carayannis

Tsunami, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Volcanic Eruptions, Climate Change and other Natural and Man-Made Hazards and Disasters - Disaster Archaeology,


The Earthquake and Tsunami of October 10, 2002 in Irian Jaya, Indonesia

George Pararas-Carayannis


A major earthquake occurred about 90 km south of Manokwari in the remote region of Indonesia's easternmost province of Irian Jaya. The quake caused damage, a few deaths and generated a local tsunami.


The origin date and time of the eartjhquake was 10:50:20 UTC, Oct 10, 2002 (7:50 PM local time in Indonesia).

The quake's magnitude was 7.6 and its epiecenter was at 1.71S 134.16E (USGS NEIC) near the northwest-striking Ransiki fault - one of several major faults in the northwestern New Guinea region. The quake was shallow with a focal depth at 10 km. A two-mile long ground rupture was reported. Several large aftershocks followed the main quake.

Tectonic Setting

The tsunamigenic earthquake occurred along a major fault in the northwestern New Guinea region near the boundary where the Philippine Sea and the Caroline tectonic plates interact with the Australian plate.

The focal mechanism is consistent with the earthquake occurring as right-lateral slip on a northwest-striking fault.


Source Mechanism

The focal mechanism is consistent with the earthquake occurring as right-lateral slip on a northwest-striking fault.


Death Toll and Damages

The earthquake triggered extensive surface faulting, and landslides. Liquefaction and subsidence damaged or destroyed many buidings and homes in the Manokwari-Oranbari-Ransiki area. At least six people were killed and 170 more were injured. More than 100 homes were damaged.

Damaging Historical Earthquakes

Earthquakes and local tsunamis are quite common for this region of Irian Jaya. In the past few decades, several earthquakes have occurred. On 8 September 2002 a magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred about struck about 1000 km to the east. This quake killed at least 6 people and generated a one meter tsunami that caused extensive damage to homes on the nearby islands

On 12 September, 1979 an earthquake with magnitude 7.9 occurred about 190 km to the east killing 15 people. Damage estimates for this quake ranged from $5 to $25 million.

Another quake with a magnitude of 6.3 occurred 330 km to the southeast on September 9th, 1985, and killed at least 10 people.

A magnitude 6.3 quake, that injured 28 people, occurred 190 km to the east on November 20th 1994.



A local tsunami was generated. The waves ranged in height from 3-5 meters along the coast of Manokwari, Oranbari and Ransiki.

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