Indonesia is well known for its earthquakes and volcanoes, but thankfully this latest quake, even though a powerful 7.7 magnitude, has apparently resulted in no injuries.
The earthquake occurred off the coast of western Sumatra in the evening (local time) and although a tsunami warning was issued for Indonesia, this was called off without any report of damage.
As readers will recall, a tsunami caused by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in December 2004 caused the death of more than 220,000 people, the worst tsunami on record.
At much the same time, just a few hundred miles south-east of the earthquake location, thousands of people were being encouraged to evacuate the area around Mount Merapi volcano, which is believed to be close to erupting.
The Merapi volcano last erupted in 2006, killing two people. However, casualties were much higher following an eruption in 1994, where 60 people lost their lives. But the worst recorded death toll was in 1930 when 1,300 people died.
Earthquake activity (worldwide) has been relatively quiet of late, at least as far as big earthquakes are concerned, but this pattern appears to be changing. A number of fairly large quakes have been seen in the Gulf of California, prompting fears that the “Big One” may be on its way.
Whilst most of the quakes are appearing around the “Ring of Fire”, which is not unusual, a few have been recorded in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.
Like most things that are controlled by nature, there are periods when earthquakes and volcanoes are more active than normal, and we may be entering such a phase now. Unfortunately, it is still difficult to guess where they will happen and when.