Sumatra Loss Estimates

Real-Time Estimate of Losses Due to Strong Motions After the Sumatra Earthquake of 26 December 2004

This map shows the average state of damage estimated by the program QUAKELOSS at 02:26 GMT on December 26 (1.5 hours after the earthquake). The damage is calculated based on the strong motion expected. The effects of the tsunami are not included. Black Roman numerals show the expected intensities due to shaking. The alert distributed by Email at that time stated that more man 1000 people are expected to have been injured or died due to the shaking. After the tsunami struck, it can no longer be verified how close to the truth this estimate was. At the time it was not know yet that the magnitude was M9+. The damage was calculated using M8.5

Real-Time Estimate of Losses Due to Strong Motions After the Sumatra Earthquake of M8.2 on 28 March 2005 (epicenter 2.09N 97.02E)

The figure below gives our real time estimate of the probable average damage in the region. There are likely more than 100 settlements that have been shaken with intensities stronger than VII. One has to be prepared for possibly 300 to 1000 fatalities.
Now (18:30 GMT) that the magnitude estimate for Tsunami warning has been given as M8.5 (and the new USGS magnitude is M8.7 at 19:00 GMT), the number of fatalities are likely to exceed 1000 significantly.

These messages have been posted in real time


FLOW OF INFORMATION IN REAL TIME AFTER THE SUMATRA M8.5 EARTHQUAKE OF 28 MARCH 2005 (HYPOCENTERS, MAGNITUDES, LOSS ESTIMATES)

To assist rescue agencies in reaching decisions regarding mobilizing, rapid loss estimates in real time are important. Our estimates of losses depend on the timely availability of accurate information on earthquake hypocenter and magnitude. The following table summarizes the information flow of the necessary parameters and of the warnings as a function of time. (If someone has suggestions for corrections or additions to this table, please send me an email at wapmerr@maxwyss.com).

Hour Minute Reporting Agency Action Delay Minutes
16 9 Origin Time    
16 26 Swiss Seismological Service Warning with approximate location and magnitude 17
16