How Do We Predict the Earthquake

An Indonesian girl on her ruined house.
An Indonesian girl on her ruined house.

Earthquakes in Indonesia last 5 years

Since December 2004, until now Indonesia has suffered many catastrophes like Aceh tsunami and earthquake, Nias earthquake, Jogjakarta earthquake, Tasikmalaya earthquake, and most recent West and South Sumatra earthquakes. What caused these earthquakes ? According to our geologists, the position of Indonesia between two major plates, Asian plate and Australian plate, will caused many possibilities of earthquake. Like the recent West Sumatra earthquake, was caused by the movement of two plates in the area of West Sumatra. Due to the meeting of Indian Ocean tectonic plates under Asian plate in Sumatra West Coast.

These earthquakes are getting bigger, last earthquake I've been experienced before the Tasikmalaya earthquake was about 10 years ago in Jogjakarta, but the intensity was not as big as today. Larger earthquakes have been found these days and I'm afraid they will increase the possibility of subsequent quakes across the globe. Just imagine, if one plate moves in certain area, don't you think it will cause another movement in another area ? Because since Italy earthquake early this year, I wondering which area will get the reflection, and now I found out : my country.

Beneath the ocean between Sumatra and Java islands there is one big and dangerous volcanic mountain : Krakatau mountain. I could not imagine what will happen with this mountain after the earthquake. Like one of my fellow hubber Prasetio30 once said, he just prays and prays.
Scientists reported that the activity of Krakatau mountain has increased significantly during these days.

Earthquakes in Indonesia

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Aceh tsunami and earthquake, 2004Nias earthquake, 2005Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007Tasikmalaya, West Java earthquake, 2009Padang, West Sumatra earthquake, 2009
Aceh tsunami and earthquake, 2004
Aceh tsunami and earthquake, 2004
Nias earthquake, 2005
Nias earthquake, 2005
Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007
Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007
Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007
Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007
Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007
Jogjakarta earthquake, 2007
Tasikmalaya, West Java earthquake, 2009
Tasikmalaya, West Java earthquake, 2009
Padang, West Sumatra earthquake, 2009
Padang, West Sumatra earthquake, 2009

Scientist Predict the Earthquake.

I feel the urgency of early warning system in my country. Even if the system may give a false signal, I still prefer that. How actually scientist predict the earthquake ?

Scientists study the past frequency of large earthquakes in order to determine the future likelihood of similar large shocks. For example, if a region has experienced four magnitude 7 or larger earthquakes during 200 years of recorded history, and if these shocks occurred randomly in time, then scientists would assign a 50 percent probability (that is, just as likely to happen as not to happen) to the occurrence of another magnitude 7 or larger quake in the region during the next 50 years.

According to wikipedia, an earthquake prediction is a prediction that an earthquake of a specific magnitude will occur in a particular place at a particular time (or ranges thereof). Despite considerable research efforts by seismologists, scientifically reproducible predictions cannot yet be made to a specific hour, day, or month but for well-understood faults, seismic hazard assessment maps can estimate the probability that an earthquake of a given size will affect a given location over a certain number of years.

Well, there is one man in my county named Mbah Maridjan or Maridjan Grandad. He doesn't have educational background but he works as Merapi volcanic mountain guardian. Don't get me wrong, he is not get paid for that. It was his spiritual decision. He seems understand the mountain, he could tell people whether the mountain will erupt today or not. I never known this man until a few years ago when Merapi volcanic mountain will erupt and all the scientists in meteorology and geophysics board had warned the villagers to be evacuated. This man refused to be evacuated, he had known for sure that the mountain would not erupted that day. Although finally he agree to be evacuated, he did it just to obey the Sultan's (Jogjakarta King) order. And you know what, the Merapi mountain did not erupt that day. Surprising ability. But such case is rare and I believe in scientist report more than spiritual advise like that. You have to consider both warning I think, science and spiritual.

Then, how we could predict the earthquake ?

In the effort to predict earthquakes, people have tried to associate an impending earthquake with such varied phenomena as seismicity patterns, electromagnetic fields, ground movement, weather conditions and unusual clouds, radon or hydrogen gas content of soil or ground water, water level in wells, animal behavior, and the phases of the moon. In fact, before the Tasikmalaya earhquake has happened, I saw many cockroachs about half a dozen I think, appeared from nowhere. I never thought that it could be a sign of earthquake. But insects have strong instinc, they could predict underground movement like underwater movement, I think. What do you think ?

One well-known successful earthquake prediction was for the Haicheng, China earthquake of 1975, when an evacuation warning was issued the day before a M 7.3 earthquake. In the preceding months changes in land elevation and in ground water levels, widespread reports of peculiar animal behavior, and many foreshocks had led to a lower-level warning. An increase in foreshock activity triggered the evacuation warning. Unfortunately, most earthquakes do not have such obvious precursors. In spite of their success in 1975, there was no warning of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, magnitude 7.6, which caused an estimated 250,000 fatalities.

Actually, nobody can predict the earthquake, nobody will accurately knows what time, when, what area the earthquake will happen. Like the US Department of Energy once said : Scientists cannot predict earthquakes. 

But we can at least make some early warning systems that may predict the next impact of one earthquake, perhaps Like after Sumatra earthquake, which area will be next.

Early Warning System

Some early warning systems have really worked in a country like Japan. The Japanese government provides their residents with such systems. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides residents in Japan with Earthquake Early Warnings. This is a new system that issues prompt alerts just as an earthquake starts, providing valuable seconds for people to protect themselves before strong tremors arrive.
On 1 October 2007, JMA launched the Earthquake Early Warning service for provision through a number of media outlets such as TV and radio. (

I hope there will be a kind of early warning system in my country, The one which could possibly reach by the Indonesian people. especially in areas that have big possibility of earthquakes. Like in West coast Sumatra, Southern Coast Java, Nusa Tenggara and Papua.
It may save many people. My prayer to all the earthquakes victims and may God Bless Indonesia.

Japan Early Warning System
Japan Early Warning System
Early Warning System
Early Warning System

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Comments 28 comments

Bbudoyono profile image

Bbudoyono 7 years ago

Some years ago someone told me that village people in Yogyakarta, especially those who live close to Merapi volcano can predict volcanic earthquake by watching animal behavior. Several hours before the earthquake animals run recklessly away from the volcano.

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia Author

You're right Sir, as mankind we should learn from the animal behavior. We have to be prepared and alert specially if we live in the earthquake lines. Thank you for sharing the story, Sir.

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

Thank you for sharing the information. We badly need accuracy in predicting when earth quakes will happnen.

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia Author

Absolutely, like the one that Japan government has done. People could receive the earthquake signal from their cellphones! Indonesia government should develop such system. Thank you for commenting Agus, have a good day!

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

Febrie, you have great hub. Very detail, do great research and complete with the picture. I think it help us to know about the earthquake. I get a lot of information from here. There is some issue about next earthquake with magnitude 8,9. Makes many people uncomfortable and afraid about aftershocks. I hope it never happen.Actually in Java's Island and all the country....amen. As you said above Febrie.....I never stop to pray.

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia Author

Thank You Pras. About the issue, I am not really sure. The scientists found a new fracture in East plate, and they said it probably caused a 15 meters of Tsunami wave but I don't know if that was true. So, for now on let's just bow down and pray..

Have a nice weekend!

sam mcdougall 7 years ago

what are the names of the plates round sumatra

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia Author

Hello Sam, there are three plates around my country : Eurasia, Pacific, and Indo-Australia. The plate around Sumatra is Eurasia plate or Samudera Hindia (Indian Ocean) plate.

Thank you for visiting.

Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

Great hub...I would think that any warning is better than no warning. It is a wonderful thing that science is creating and implementing early warning systems.

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia Author

Hi Tom, yes I would think like that too! Thank you for visiting, have a nice day!

Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 7 years ago from Canada

Canada is getting wierd weather too with rising tornadoes and S Ontario also gets quakes but we don't have anything resembling what goes on in other countries or our own N American coasts. We send out our prayers too. :)

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia Author

Dame Scribe,

Yes, weather in all around the world is getting weird like in Philipphines, this country was hit by storm 3 times!

Thank you so much for your concern, God Bless You :)

ann 6 years ago

that's .bad

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 6 years ago from Indonesia Author

Ann, thank you for visiting!

mimmy 6 years ago

wat are the machnes that look like the ones that the ones were u can read a persons heart rate?


Tim 6 years ago

About a week ago, we had a 7.2 earthquake in Southern California, I live about 50 miles from the Epicenter. I heard that supposebly an old lady was shopping for water and needs a day before the earthquake at a local market and that she was warning the employees about the earthquakes. Well, today April 13, supposebly she went to the same store and bought goods because we are going to have another major earthquakes later on today. Now everybody is scare, they believe her because she was right the first time. And I still think that earthqueakes are unpredictables (by humans) so if she’s right again, your guys heard it first. Now, I really don’t know what to think. Specially because we’ve b een having so many aftershocks for more than a week.

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 6 years ago from Indonesia Author

Tim, I'm sorry to hear that, I will pray for you, that's the only thing I can do for you, hope you and all your family will be ok, well, someone has told me, before the Padang's (West Sumatra - Indonesia) earthquake, he saw a very long cloud in the sky, and a moment after that the earthquake happened. I'm not sure if these may related but who knows.

Thank you for sharing this.

daisy1968 6 years ago

thank you for putting this story up i know some that has been in an earth quake before its quite sad hearing about how many people die from natural diasters

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 6 years ago from Indonesia Author

@daisy1968, you're welcome, yes, we never know for sure when or when the earthquake will happen, and it's really sad to watch many children grow without their parents because of natural disasters.

Mariel Morgan 6 years ago

Hi, My Name is Mariel Morgan, I'm able to predict Earthquake physically, is a sensation in my head body and eyes within 4 and 48 hours before this will occur, Lateley I used Facebbok to announce it, many of my friends know this for years and also my kids but lateley I can predict the area and Plato where is going to occur and Tsunami as well , is very frighten as I'm a very normal or as normal as any one can be !if someone would like to get in contact to save human lives, Im at fece book unde Mariel Morgan, Melbourne Australia, I do not know where to go to put in use this gift given to me !

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 6 years ago from Indonesia Author

Hi Mariel, if you're really have that kind of talent, you may save many lives! That's God's grace!

There was a huge earthquake in Mentawai Coast, West Sumatera, Indonesia, and followed by Tsunami, did you know that?

I think you may build your own website and write all your predictions in that site, to prove your predictions.

Hope it may helps you, God Bless You!

Keep in touch Mariel! I'd like to hear your next prediction.

yazooooooy 6 years ago

not COOOOOOOOOOOOL at allllllllllllllllllllllllll (:



edmondpogi profile image

edmondpogi 5 years ago

i dont think we can predict earthquake or any natural disasters in that matter but we can be prepared.

Safety First: Earthquake Emergency Campaign

Lyn.Stewart profile image

Lyn.Stewart 5 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

wonderful hub. I enjoyed reading it voted up and useful

NA GOD GET POWER 4 years ago

No!don't say that , because life is all about wonderful i still believe it can be true some one can know what we happen to you tomorrow or let look at it this way 40years ago! if i told you that Obama we become the president of america one day can you believe me?, who knows some of those kids that die in this accident can become the president of Indonesia tomorrow ,no one knows because many things are happening in this model days of life. for me i still believe there is some one God destiny for that him or her can tell you if there we be an earthquake today or tomorrow it can happen but you we not believe him until it come to pass. come to think of it everyone most surely die i still believe i we die one day,just to encourage the family of the death once take heart life is about wonderful things happening everyday , some one just rap her mum few days ago! can you imagine that? May God Have Mercy upon him!.

steph 4 years ago

Why do people want to live near volcanoes for these following countries?


~ Philippines



~South America

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 4 years ago from Indonesia Author

Hi Steph, I think because the soil near volcanoes are the most fertile one.

Sammy 4 years ago

My mom and dad and my brothers and sisters all 10 of them died in the 2004 Tsunami when i was 11 years old and now i am 18 years old

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