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A Case of the Shakes

Bali Experiences Prolonged Tectonic Event Early on Saturday Morning.

(4/19/2004) Bali's Geophysical and Meteorological Service recorded a prolonged earthquake, lasting 20 minutes, in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 17, 2004.

Measuring 5 on the Richter scale, the quake had an epicenter 79 kilometers below sea level in the Indian Ocean approximately 69 kilometers south of the East Javanese coastal city of Banyuwangi. While many residents of the island slept undisturbed by the quake, many citizens in Denpasar and other parts suffered a period of prolonged panic as the quake only subsided after 20 minutes.

Earthquakes are a regular occurrence in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia and often only last for a few seconds. According to seismographic records, Saturday's event created a period of measurable shifting in the subterranean plates that lasted for 20 minutes, starting at 2:32 a.m. and only ending at 2:52 a.m..

No injuries were reported as a result of the earthquake which was blamed for broken walls and other minor property damage in Banyuwangi, across the straits from Bali on Java's easternmost tip.

Little more than one hour after the earthquake was felt in Bali, a larger quake, measuring 6 on the Richter scale, was recorded in far-away Begkulu on Sumatra's west coast. No major damage or injuries have been reported in connection with that episode.