Map of the January 14 earthquake area in Indonesia. Illustration by USGS,
20 Jan 2021

Over 40 dead in earthquake in Indonesia


At least 42 people have been killed in a powerful earthquake on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, according to the national authorities. Several buildings have collapsed, including a hospital.


Cover Photo: (Above) Map of the January 14 earthquake area in Indonesia. Illustration by USGS,


The powerful earthquake had  a magnitude of 6.2. It occurred during the night between Thursday and Friday January 14th, local time, just outside the city of Majene, at a depth of about 10 kilometers ( 6,2 miles). At least 15,000 were forced to flee their homes and head for higher terrain.

Authorities estimate that at least 820 people were injured in the earthquake. The earthquake , and several aftershocks, have damaged more than 300 residential buildings and two hotels. A hospital in Majene has also collapsed, and there is information that both patients and staff were trapped in the landslides.

Initially, it was reported that a hotel had collapsed, but it later turned out it was only partially collapsed. The office of the region's governor is also said to have been severely damaged.

Dozens of aftershocks have been recorded. Indonesian authorities fear several strong earthquakes, and flag that it could mean that tsunamis threaten coastal areas. However, no formal tsunami alert was issued.

Just a few hours before the quake on Friday night, another quake had occurred, with a magnitude of 5.9.

Indonesia is located in the so-called Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped group of islands with extensive seismic activity. In 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed nearly a quarter of a million people.