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By: Denaya Artamevia N. S. (15/385313/TK/43975)

Indonesia as a country that being located on the middle of Pacific Ring of Fire, Alpide seismic belt, and also located on some tectonic plates, is became one of the most seismically active zones of the earth. Pacific Ring of Fire or Circum-Pacific belt known as the reason why Indonesia experience some of the strongest earthquake and also has a lot of volcanoes. Based on Live Science (2010) this region claimed as the world's greatest earthquake belt, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), due to its series of fault lines stretching 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) from Chile in the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

Breaking in the plates of the Earth's crust, earthquakes typically occur along faults. These faults accumulate strain over the years as two plates butt heads. Roughly 90 percent of all the world's earthquakes, and 80 percent of the world's largest earthquakes, strike along the Ring of Fire. Other than that, according to National Geographic, Ring of Fire also became home to 75% of the world’s volcanoes and 90% of its earthquake. Indonesia reported has 129 active volcanoes. Some of them had been erupted and gave some impacts to the human and earth.

Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management in 2017 (Badan Nasional Penanggulanan Bencana-BNPB) predicted in 2018 Indonesia will experience around 500 earthquakes every month. At that time, the head of center of data, information and public relations at the BNPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, also said that Java, Sulawesi, Papua, and Nusa Tenggara will be the most vulnerable area. While the most vulnerable city is Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Bandung.

most vulnerable city is Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Bandung. Figure 1. Liquefaction in Selengen Village, North Lombok.

Figure 1. Liquefaction in Selengen Village, North Lombok.

Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara is still become the focus of attention nowadays, because of the recent earthquake that happens since August. Building damage and fatalities are inevitable. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs (2018), the total of the victim on August 20th 2018 is around 548 person. One of the reasons for the building collapse is liquefaction. Based on Sutopo Purwo Nugroho’s tweet on August 10 th 2018, because of the 7,0 on the Richter scale

earthquake that happens in Lombok last August, you could find the liquefaction in Selengen Village, Kayangan, North Lombok (Figure 1).

Liquefaction causes a lot of building collapse because it makes the strength of a soil is reduced and also makes the foundation broken. Liquefaction has been responsible for a tremendous amount of damage in the historical earthquake around the world. So it is important for us to know about liquefaction, the causes of occurrence, its impact, and also what should we do about it.

Soil liquefaction is a phenomenon of saturated or half saturated soil behavior that loses its strength and stiffness substantially because of earthquake shaking or another rapid loading, which causes the soil behaves like a liquid. The space between individual particles of soils completely filled with water. This water exerts a pressure on the soil particles that influence how tightly the particles themselves are pressed together. Prior to an earthquake, the water pressure is relatively low. However, earthquake shaking can cause the water pressure to increase to the point where the soil particles can readily move with respect to each other. But not all soils will liquefy in the earthquake. Sands, silts, and quite loose soil is the type of soils that have a big potency to liquefy. The location of the water table is also considered.

If liquefied, the soil cannot support the weight of things that are lying above it, such as building, bridge, or road. It is because of the strength of the soil decreased and so does the ability of a soil deposit to support foundations for buildings and bridges. Usually, the rivers of silt or boils flowing out onto the surface is a liquefied soil. Liquefied soil also exerts a higher pressure on retaining walls, which can cause them to tilt or slide. This movement can cause settlement of the retained soil and destruction of structures on the ground surface. One of the most famous cases of liquefaction occurred during the Niigata earthquake in 1964 as shown in Figure 2. It shows structurally undamaged buildings tilted and floated within their liquefied sandy base soil.

tilted and floated within their liquefied sandy base soil . Figure 2. Tilted building due to

Figure 2. Tilted building due to liquefaction in Niigata earthquake 1964.

Although dangerous, soil liquefaction has one positive aspect, it is the tendency for the effects of earthquake shaking to be significantly reduced. It’s because liquids do not support a shear stress.

So when the soil liquefied due to earthquake shaking, the wave of the subsequent earthquake is not transferred to buildings at the ground surface.

The countermeasure of this event is to know the area that is prone to experience liquefaction, such as the type of soil, soil properties, water table, and etc. so we can considering more if we want to build something on the area. Soil improvement, geo-grid usage, and flexible joint usage, can help prevent the liquefaction to happen.


Civil at Work, 2017. Soil Liquefaction. [Online] Available at: http://civilatwork.blogspot.com/2017/12/soil-liquefaction.html [Accessed 27 September 2018].

Israel, B., 2010. Indonesia's Explosive Geology Explained. [Online] Available at: https://www.livescience.com/8823-indonesia-explosive-geology-explained.html [Accessed 27 September 2018].

National Geographic, n.d. The Ring of Fire. [Online] Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/earth/ring-of-fire/ [Accessed 27 September 2018].

Sofia, A., 2016. Geotechnic - Liquefaction. [Online] Available at: http://sofiaannisam.blogspot.com/2016/10/geologi-teknik-likuifaksi.html [Accessed 27 September 2018].