At 4.10pm on 24 May 2017, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred off the coast of South Bungku District, Morowali. The earthquake is thought to have occurred on the Matano Fault at a depth of around 10km. Several felt aftershocks have occurred since the initial earthquake.
Shaking was felt strongly in Morowali with reports of people running from houses. Subsequent media reports note that at least 20 homes were damaged, most lightly, with one house severely damaged in Siumbatu Village, South Bungku District.
Only five days later, at 9.35pm on 29 March, the province was again shaken, this time by a magnitude 6.6 earthquake centred 38km from the village of Poso. This earthquake was strongly felt in Poso and according to media reports, generally felt in most parts of Central Sulawesi. Media reports indicate that some buildings were damaged in Poso from this earthquake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxVqgl2XasI
Matano Fault and StIRRRD
As part of the StIRRRD programme, staff from the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) are working with Morowali BPBD and Action Plan partners to improve knowledge and raise awareness of the risk associated with the Matano Fault. This fault creates a significant hazard for Morowali, cutting right through the district and extending offshore (see figure below). BMKG, Indonesia’s earthquake monitoring agency, estimate that the Matano Fault can generate earthquakes up to around magnitude 7.3.
The Morowali DRR Action Plan, being led by the Morowali BPBD, includes a project to undertake more research on the Matano Fault and the fault’s associated risks. This information will inform planning and development in areas close to the fault and help inform future public education.