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9/19/2007

Indonesia's big one 'on its way'

Photo: A crack caused by a quake breaks the pavement along a road in Lais, North Bengkulu,

PADANG, Indonesia (CNN)
A team has established a network of position-markers, linked by satellite, that show a constant creep, northeast, among the islands on Indonesia's Indian Ocean frontier. The first one was placed in August 2002. The 30 measuring stations along Sumatra's western coast tell an ominous tale. Driven by the plate beneath the Indian Ocean, the entire coastline is flexing, as the earth literally bends. The pressures are already enormous, and at some point, probably soon, they will become intolerable. The implications are terrifying. "Eventually it has got to release in (the form) of a giant earthquake." It may be a rare magnitude-9 quake. Scientists are now examining the evidence that they believe indicates the arrival another giant earthquake, and possible tsunami - with the plates so tightly sprung, they believe it will happen sooner, rather than later. "Whenever I am in Padang I think about my escape routes, almost every moment."

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