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Tsunami causes devastation in Indonesia

A tsunami, triggered by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, has killed more than 450 people and wreaked devastation in the city of Palu off Indonesia’s Sulawesi island on Friday.

Waves reaching 10 feet have swept away houses and other buildings not long after authorities had lifted a tsunami warning.

Experts said the long, narrow bay running into Palu, a city of 380,000, squeezed the tsunami into a tight space, likely making the waves more dangerous.

Officials said more than 380 were dead in Palu alone, and more were unaccounted for.

Last month, a series of earthquakes struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, killing hundreds of people.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho reported communications and power to the area were disrupted. “The cut to telecommunications and darkness are hampering efforts to obtain information.

All national potential will be deployed, and tomorrow morning we will deploy Hercules and helicopters to provide assistance in tsunami-affected areas”

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According to the United States Geological Survey, earthquakes of this size are described as slip over a larger fault area.

Strike-slip events of the size of the September 28, 2018 earthquake are typically about 120×20 km in size (length x width); modeling of this earthquake implies dimensions of ~80×30 km.

The September 28, 2018 earthquake was preceded by a series of small-to-moderate sized earthquakes over the hours leading up to this event.

The USGS located 4 other earthquakes of M 4.9 and larger in the epicentral region, beginning with a M 6.1 earthquake three hours earlier and just to the south of the M 7.5 event.

There has also been an active aftershock sequence, with ten events of M 4.7 and larger in the three hours following this earthquake.

The largest aftershock in this timeframe was M 5.8, about 12 minutes after the M 7.5 earthquake.

Map: USGS