UGM Earthquake Warning System (EWS) detected a 5.3-magnitude quake in Toli-Toli, Central Sulawesi, three days prior to the incident. As reported by the Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), Toli-Toli was rocked by a tectonic quake on Saturday (29/5) at 08:25:14 Western Indonesian Time. The epicenter was in the sea, 87 km off west of Toli-Toli at a depth of 27 km.
Head of the EWS Research Team Professor Sunarno said that the device could predict potential earthquakes as early as seven days in Yogyakarta and three days in areas from Aceh to East Nusa Tenggara. Earlier detection in the Yogyakarta area was due to its monitoring stations currently available solely in the said province.
According to Sunarno, research on this project has been ongoing since 2018. The device works by notifying differences in the concentration of radon gas and groundwater level in the area where an earthquake is about to occur. The whole system uses IoT technology and consists of several pieces of equipment, such as detectors for changes in radon gas concentration and groundwater level, signal conditioners, controllers, data storage, and power sources. The team is now working on improving the triangulation technology to predict the location of the epicenter more precisely.
“If an earthquake is about to happen, there will be natural anomalies. The natural radon exposure will elevate significantly. Likewise, the groundwater level will fluctuate,” explained Sunarno.
The UGM Earthquake Warning System has been assisting quake predictions in many areas across Indonesia throughout 2020, including a 5.2-magnitude quake in West Bengkulu (August 28), a 5.3-magnitude in Southwest Sumur, Banten (August 26), a 5.1-magnitude in Southwest Bengkulu (August 29), a 5.0-magnitude in Southwest Sinabang, Aceh (September 1), a 5.1-magnitude in Southwest Pacitan (September 10), and a 5.4-magnitude in Southeast Nagan Raya, Aceh (September 14).
Author: Gusti Grehenson