Island Appears in Maluku After M7.5 Earthquake Struck on Tuesday


TEMPO.CO, Ambon – An island suddenly emerged above sea level in the water in the Tanimbar Islands Regency, Maluku, following a devastatingly strong 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday morning, January 10, 2023. The visual of an island suddenly emerging out of the ocean raise fear among residents of the North Tanimbar village. 

The village head Bony Kelmaskossu described what the island is. “A pile of materials appeared which formed into an island. We eventually ordered villagers to temporarily evacuate,” Bony said to Tempo on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

Coordinator of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Class I Ambon Luthfy Pary, explained that further examination of the incident is required to scientifically explain the phenomenon. 

However, Luthfy said that the most plausible explanation concerning the island based on currently limited observation would be volcanic mud. “It’s still not complete whether the phenomenon is because of the byproduct of the earthquake or not,” Luthfi said.

The magnitude 7.5 earthquake originated 136 kilometers off the coast of Southeast West Maluku and from a depth, or hypocenter, of 130 kilometers. The quake itself is said to be caused by Banda Sea’s subduction activities and was measured at V on the MMI scale.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the earthquake damaged at least 92 houses and two education facilities at the Tanimbar Islands Regency. The Dawelor Dawera subdistrict suffered most of the damages. 

ZACHARIAS WURAGIL

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