Earthquake is one of natural phenomenon caused by a sudden and violent shaking of the ground, sometimes causing great destruction, as a result of movements within the earth's crust or volcanic activity. Earthquakes vary in scales, from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt to those violent enough to toss people around and destroy whole cities.
Indonesia is located in the most active seismic belt well-known as the “Ring of Fire” of which 90% of earthquakes around the world are most likely to happen. It is also located at the meeting point of three major continental plates - the Pacific, the Eurasian, and the Indo-Australian plates - as well as the much smaller Philippine plate.
This geographical condition makes Indonesia a region prone to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis. On the other hand, it also makes Indonesia a fertile and biologically rich region. Ashes from volcanic eruptions fertilizes the land which attracts people to inhabit the land around the volcano. The Ring of Fire also provides geothermal energy that can be used as a potential alternative energy source.
According to the data from Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological, and Geophysical Agency, there are 295 active fault lines identified in Indonesia, a number that is likely to rise as experts predict that there are other unidentified fault lines.
Several researches reports that the seismic activities are growing for the past few years. It is time for the government as the policy maker to put a realistic policy into practice by working together side by side with the scientists to reduce the aftereffect of earthquakes, especially the loss of lives. One of the efforts the government could make is to research on quake-proof buildings and its implementation.
Through the effort of the Ministry of Public Services and Housing, the government is trying to develop the use of readily-made concrete modules which can be joined using bolts. The joints of these modules will suppress the shock from ongoing earthquakes.
Below are several breakthroughs by Indonesian scientists in designing quake-proof buildings:
Indonesia is bursting with natural resources. Traditional wooden houses on stilts are known to be more resilient against the shock of a quake in comparison to houses made of concrete. Alternative materials such as woods, bamboos, rattan, and such need to be considered as potential materials for quake-proof buildings as Indonesia has tons of them in spare.
Indonesian government has developed asphalt with mixtures of plastic. Such innovations are also need to be taken into consideration for their application in designing quake-proof buildings. Alternative materials such as plastic also has that potential. Japan, for example, has developed a quake-proof buildings using Styrofoam.
Other than researching on quake-proof buildings, it is also prudent to consider on designing safer furniture that may reduce potential for injuries during earthquakes. Several scientists overseas have successfully made prototypes of bed or desk that can take on heavy weight, enabling people to use them to protect themselves from rubbles. Such a thing is need to be developed in Indonesia.
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