The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 10/28/2009 3:16 PM
A well spurting water, mud and gas has developed at a location in Bapelle village, Sampang district on Madura Island that was being surveyed by oil company SPE Petroleum on Wednesday, Antara state news agency has reported.
Personnel from the company had intended to have a controlled dynamite blast at the site, believed to contain valuable petroleum and gas reserves
However, the plan was canceled when a well in the yard of a Bapelle village resident suddenly erupted after oil company employees had installed a pipe connection there.
The flammable mixture of mud, water and gas has been continually erupting from the well and has become a flow that has begun to cover local residents' rice fields around the exploration site.
"We are worried about the existence of the new mud flow since it is beginning to flood some of our rice fields," a local villager, Kurdi Sari, said.
SPE Petroleum has yet to issue a statement on the mudflow.
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 10/28/2009 2:21 PM
A herd of wild elephants entered a village in Geumpang subdistrict, Aceh province recently, damaging three houses and ruining food crops, a local leader said Wednesday.
"For the past week, a herd of about 17 elephants have been rampaging through our village. They have destroyed three houses and they have eaten the rice plants in our fields," a local community chief, M Sabi, told Antara state news agency on Wednesday.
The three damaged houses belonged to Abdullah Saman, Yusri Yusuf and Ibnu Abbas. All three residents, along with their families, have moved to a safer place.
Sabi said, in fact, two villages in Geumpang subdistrict – Gampong Pulo and Bangkeh – had been terrorized by wild elephants for the past two months. They had destroyed the villagers' crops and chased anyone who came in sight.
So far, the authorities, such as the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), have taken no action to help the villagers overcome the problem.
"Local residents are now forced to try to drive the elephants away by their own means, like with bamboo cannons. Every night we strike the cannon to create sounds that scare the elephants away," Sabi said.
Material losses from the elephants' rampages have yet to be assessed. However, Muhammad Gapi, a local resident, said people in his area had to buy the carbide, a basic material used to fire up the bamboo cannons, with their own money.
"We have to spend Rp 100,000 [US$10] each night just to buy carbide for the cannons," Gapi said.
Last September, there was an elephant attack in Pauh Ranap village, Riau province, which killed one villager and injured another.
The Mentawai islands, where one of Sunday's quakes struck, lie just west of a major fault line. (Photo: Antara)
It's been a busy Sunday underneath Indonesia, with five earthquakes hitting the archipelagic nation over the course of the morning.
The shaking began at 3.54 am Western Indonesian Standard Time (WIB), when a 6.1-magnitude temblor hit 176 km southwest of Waingapu, East Nusa Tenggara province, at a depth of 19 km under the seabed..
Ten minutes later, another quake measuring 5.5 hit off Waingapu in nearly the same spot, at a depth of 23 km.
A 5.3- magnitude quake hit 39 km below sea level, 151 km southwest of Tual, Maluku, at 7.35 am.
At 8.50, an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted 69 km southeast of Siberut in the Mentawai islands of West Sumatra province.
Finally, North Sulawesi was rocked by a 5.2 quake 106 kilometers northeast of Bitung, a mere 10 km below sea level, at 9:25 a.m.
There are no reports of damage or injuries so far.
Map detailing the location of magnitude-7.0 earthquake.
DEVELOPING — A magnitude-7.0 earthquake has struck the Banda Sea, off the coast of Indonesia.
Indonesia issued a tsunami alert, but the U.S. Geological Survey reports the quake was located too deep within the earth to generate one in the Indian ocean.
The quake reportedly took place in waters far from most of Indonesia's most populated areas. Jakarta residents tell Fox News they did not feel earthquake rumblings.
The quake struck 92-miles deep in the Banda Sea, 138 miles northwest of Saumlaki in Indonesia's Tanimbar Islands at 11:40 p.m. local time.
Saturday's quake came as Indonesia is still recovering from another earthquake last month island that killed more than 1,000 people on western Sumatra.
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 10/20/2009 7:51 PM
More than 2,000 residents of Menui Island in the Central Sulawesi regency of Morowali have streamed into Bungku Tengah district and the provincial capital of Kendari to seek refuge following a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that jolted the province last Friday.
Morowali Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Deden Garnada said the quake had stirred panic among the residents as rumors had circulated that the tremor would sink the island.
“It was the work of irresponsible people,” Deden said.
The refugees are being sheltered at village office halls, school buildings and local residents’ houses.
Deden said the quake slightly damaged 19 houses and three places of worship, causing about Rp 70 million in losses.
The quake caused no direct fatalities, except for three Menui Island people who drowned when their overloaded boat capsized as they were seeking refuge on the mainland.
Antara | Tue, 10/20/2009 3:17 PM
Miners on Mount Ijen, Banyuwangi, East Java, dig up sulfur from the crater of the volcano on Tuesday. Mount Ijen, or Kawah Ijen as it is more commonly known, has a daily sulfur capacity of around 8 tons. Antara/Seno S.
Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Cikeas | Mon, 10/19/2009 5:29 PM
Another Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician appears to be a future cabinet minister, adding to three of the party's members who already came for an interview by President-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
A Bogor Institute of Technology alumnus, Suswono, will likely become the agriculture minister.
"I was asked to help development, particularly in people's welfare, related to competitiveness in agriculture products," the former House of Representatives agriculture Commission deputy chairman said Monday after the interview at Yudhoyono's private residence in Cikeas, West Java.
"Hopefully, we can export agriculture products in the future."
Indonesia, which heavily depends on agricultural commodities, already exports some agricultural products.
Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 10/16/2009 8:39 PM
Indonesia, given its heavy dependence on agricultural commodities, needs to have the sector integrated from upstream all the way to downstream in the next five years, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said Friday.
“[Industries] related to adding value to agricultural commodities need to develop. This is what we are lacking,” said Anton, who will end his term as a minister next week.
“We still export crude palm oil in the largest portion, for example, instead of its derivatives [because of the absence of integration within the sector].”
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 10/16/2009 5:42 PM
An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale was felt in Jakarta at about 5 p.m. on Friday. This was the second strong temblor in as many months to be felt in the capital.
According to data from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, the epicenter of the quake was in the Sunda Strait, about 42 kilometers northwest of Ujung Kulon in Banten province, around 185 kilometers southwest of Jakarta, at a depth of 55 kilometers beneath the ocean floor.
The tremor was also felt in Tanjung Karang in Lampung, and in Bandung.
No immediate tsunami warnings were issued following the quake.
The earthquake stirred a panic among people working in Jakarta’s high-rise buildings, who scrambled for fire stairs seeking safety.
Jakarta was also shaken by a magnitude-7.3 quake on Sept. 2, which devastated areas on West Java’s southern coast.
Scientists are reconsidering their theories after the recent series of large quakes. (Photo: AFP)
A sudden cluster of massive earthquakes which has shaken Asia-Pacific communities and likely left thousands dead has also jolted some scientists, who are starting to question conventional thought.
Experts who dismissed notions that far-away quakes could be linked are beginning to think again after huge tremors rocked Samoa and Indonesia on the same day, followed by another major convulsion in Vanuatu.
Some 184 people died in the terrifying tsunami which smashed Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga on September 30, while thousands are feared dead after parts of Indonesia's Padang city were reduced to rubble just hours later.
On Thursday, thousands of panicked people fled the coast as a rapid succession of large quakes off Vanuatu set off a tsunami warning for much of the South Pacific.
The "remarkable" sequence has prompted veteran earthquake-watcher Gary Gibson to tear up his theory it was all down to chance and search for a possible connection.
"I can no longer keep using the response it's all a big coincidence, can I?" Gibson, senior seismologist at Environmental Systems and Services consulting group, told AFP. "But what would the (link) mechanism be? Nobody has come up with a good story."
University of Queensland's Huilin Xing also challenged accepted science by proposing a possible link between the Samoan and Indonesian earthquakes -- 6,000 miles (9,660 kilometres) apart.Xing said the fast-moving Australian tectonic plate may have set off one quake, and then the other.
"From the observations, there were similar correlations of the quakes in the different places," Xing said."For two great earthquakes to occur within hours in such a way, it is abnormal."
Thursday's 7.6, 7.8 and 7.3 Vanuatu earthquakes also came just minutes after another large tremor shook the Philippines.
"It's remarkable. I've been working on this for 30 years and never seen it before," said Gibson."Many times it's chance but when you get this many large earthquakes on the Australian plate boundary it's stretching the concept of just coincidence. But nobody I know has published a link that will stand up in all cases.
"There's no mechanism to describe why it's happening that anybody's thought of. I personally think there may well be something else and I'm continuing to look for it."
Kevin McCue, president of the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society, rejected ideas of any connection between the Pacific and Indonesian quakes, but said the tremors in Samoa and Vanuatu had a historical precursor.
McCue said in 1917 a major earthquake rocked Samoa, followed three years later by another of similar size off Vanuatu, with both going off close to the recent quakes' epicentres.
But he said the high activity in different areas was simply part of the random nature of earthquakes.
"It's just the nature of the beast -- you have a cluster of events then you wait months without one," he said."(But) I don't deny that I don't know something. It is possible there's something more. We don't know what's happening down there, really."