1989 West Papua earthquake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
1989 West Papua earthquake
1989 West Papua earthquake is located in Papua
1989 West Papua earthquake
Date August 1, 1989 (1989-08-01)
Origin time 23:17 UTC
9:17 AEST
Magnitude 6.0 Mw
Epicenter 4°30′40″S 139°01′19″E / 4.511°S 139.022°E / -4.511; 139.022Coordinates: 4°30′40″S 139°01′19″E / 4.511°S 139.022°E / -4.511; 139.022[1]
Type Dip-slip
Areas affected Indonesia
Max. intensity VIII (Severe)[2]
Casualties 120 dead
120 injured

The 1989 West Papua earthquake struck West Papua, Indonesia – then Irian Jaya province – on August 1 with a moment magnitude of 6.0 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). Around 120 people were killed, mainly due to landslides and mudslides.

Details and relief[edit]

The West Papua earthquake struck at 9:17 local time[3] and measured Ms 5.7[4] and 6.0 on the moment magnitude scale.[5] Its epicenter was located 299 km (186 mi) south of Jayapura;[6] the earthquake reached as far as Wamena.[4] There were multiple aftershocks.[6]

The earthquake killed 120 people and left 120 injured;[4] all of the dead were recovered from the villages of Holuon, Pasema, and Soba.[3] Many of these deaths and injuries derived from landslides that covered two villages and disrupted sections of the Baliem River, practically flooding three villages[7] and depositing tons of mud.[3] One of these landslides was 200 m (660 ft) tall;[7] there were eleven in total.[8] A large portion of the dead consisted of Dhani tribesmen.[6]

Local authorities distributed food, blankets, clothing, and money to survivors. Helicopters supplied food and other relief supplies,[6] but they were slowed by cracks in the local airstrips. More than 25 survivors were treated for severe injuries and another 100 for less grave maladies.[3] Between two hundred and three-hundred people were evacuated in the aftermath of the tremor,[3][7] and 3,500 Hupla people were resettled at a lower altitude, thus moving them from their traditional settlements.[9]


The focal mechanism for the earthquake demonstrated reverse faulting.[4] The region around the epicenter has a history of powerful earthquakes. Between two earthquakes in 1976 and 1981, 1000 people died.[6] There have been large earthquakes in the region as recently as 2009[10] and 2010.[11]


  1. ^ "Significant earthquake". National Geophysical Data Center. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  2. ^ USGS (December 1, 2008), EXPO-CAT Earthquake Catalog, Version 2007-12, United States Geological Survey 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Indonesian quake kills 90". The Hour. August 2, 1989. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Significant Earthquakes of the World: 1989". United States Geological Survey. January 5, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Today in Earthquake History: August 1". United States Geological Survey. October 2, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Indonesian quake death toll rises". Lodi News-Sentinel. August 3, 1989. 
  7. ^ a b c "Indonesia: Earthquake Aug 1989 UNDRO Information Report 1". ReliefWeb. August 4, 1989. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Death Toll Rises to 97 in Indonesia Quake". Los Angeles Times. August 5, 1989. 
  9. ^ Tapol, pg. 22.
  10. ^ "Indonesia earthquake kills at least 2, injures 35". CNN. January 4, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Indonesian earthquake death toll climbs to 17". CNN. June 21, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 


  • Tapol Bulletin. Tapol, the British Campaign for the Release of Indonesian Political Prisoners (109–120). 1992.