So I've been following the situation in Lombok, Indonesia from both online news and friends on the ground. One thing that I can't seem to figure out is why there are so many earthquakes over an extended period of time?

Is it common for there to be earthquakes for a whole month and of high magnitudes too in seismic zones?

I have read that there can be aftershocks but I don't think that all these quakes can be characterized as aftershocks of the initial quake? These quakes seem to be independent quakes and not a continuation of aftershocks.

The major 3 have also been progressing from the south to the northwest to the northeast of the island as though it is following some pattern. So is this a sign that an underlying seismic development such as a major shift in tectonic plates or a new volcano formation will take place?

Please explain it to me like I'm 5.


1 Answer 1


Yes, it is quite possible to have a number of earthquakes over an extended period of time.

The phenomenon is actually quite common. Some famous sequences are: New Madrid in 1811-1812, Eastern California Shear Zone (1992-1999), Italy (2009-2016), New Zealand (2010-2011) etc. These are all areas where rates of seismicity are relatively low so a number of events in quick succession (as you saw in Lombok) is not due to pure chance.

The idea of one earthquake triggering another on a neighboring or nearby faults is not new.


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