the orange dot with the orange line and text is a very recent R5.9 whose epicenter was about 30 km from the earlier R6.4 and R6.9 (bigger yellow and white dots to the right).
We’ll see what Planet Earth has in store for Lombok and Indonesia. I certainly hope the Indonesian government is devoting a great deal of thought and energy. I would think, especially after the anomalous R5.9, that serious thought should be given to
1. how to get aid to Lombok (and probably Bali) if there is a major earthquake there – with or without tsunami. As far as I know, Lombok International (IATA: LOP) is the only airport on the island. You can check in on things at www.lombok.airport.co.id – there is an EN at the top for the English language version
As readers may recall, airport construction (an upgrade) was delayed and the opening date re-scheduled several times. Many issues contributed to the delays including problems with site security; thefts of construction materials and equipment from the site; issues of land use; tensions with some of the local community over compensation; and employment on the site. Other issues involved the quality of construction of the main runway and taxiways and problems with the control tower. So we may see a quality assurance audit by our planet if there is a major geological event. I would be concerned what can be done for evacuation and reconstruction both if the airport remains intact and if the airport is damaged.
2. There would be something of a domino effect – suppose the airport is working
and the air is clear of ash. Evacuating tourists by air is technically possible. But
if the resident population has to be moved – where do they go and how do they get there? Even if the Indonesian military can heroically shuttle 3 million people by helicopter to Bali so what? There’s no room there.
3. Similarly, it should be considered what to do if ferries and their docks are damaged.
4. This all gets much more complicated if there is a volcano blasting ash 10,000 feet into the air. There has, alas, not been much work on classifying volcanic eruptions by duration. The problem for modern airliners is simply the threat of an imminent eruption will effectively stop flights in – and will accelerate flights out to avoid ash damage to engines, wings and bodies. A volcanic threat could last months as was shown by events in Iceland not so long ago (Eyjafjallajokull 2010). The real challenge with all of this is the Earth has not announced a schedule, so the Indonesian government and its military would be making decisions on the fly, so as to speak, if things go badly wrong. I would think NOW is a really good time to look ahead and think what might be needed.
Perhaps this will all just end quietly. The recent R5.9 suggests otherwise