1976 Bali earthquake

The 1976 Bali earthquake occurred at 15:13 local time on 14 July with a surface wave magnitude of 6.5. The shock occurred 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of the Bali Sea coast of the Buleleng Regency, and about 65 kilometres (40 mi) northwest of Denpasar. Up to ninety percent of houses in Buleleng Regency were seriously damaged or destroyed and the Seririt sub-district was almost completely destroyed, where a school building collapsed and trapped at least 200 students.[4][5] 573 people are believed to have died; at least 544 in Buleleng Regency, 24 in Jembrana and 5 in Tabanan.[6] Four thousand more suffered injuries and an estimated 450,000 were left temporarily homeless.[7][8][9]

1976 Bali earthquake
1976 Bali earthquake is located in Bali
1976 Bali earthquake
UTC time1976-07-14 07:13:24
ISC event711163
Local dateJuly 14, 1976 (1976-07-14)
Local time15:13
Magnitude6.5 Ms[1]
Depth25.4 km (16 mi)[2]
Epicenter8°13′37″S 114°46′30″E / 8.227°S 114.775°E / -8.227; 114.775Coordinates: 8°13′37″S 114°46′30″E / 8.227°S 114.775°E / -8.227; 114.775[3]
Areas affectedBali, Indonesia
Total damageUS$195 million
Max. intensityIX (Violent)
Casualties573 killed
4750+ injured

Tectonic settingEdit

The island of Bali forms part of the Sunda Arc, which formed above the convergent boundary where the Australian Plate is subducting beneath the Sunda Plate. The rate of convergence across the line of the Sunda–Java Trench is 7.5 cm per year. Eastwards from Bali, the Sunda Arc is also being thrust over the Bali and Flores back-arc basins on a series of south-dipping thrusts. Focal mechanisms for earthquakes near Bali are dominantly thrust sense on both the subduction interface and the system of thrust faults to the north.[10]

A previous earthquake of 6.6 Ms southeast of Bali on 21 January 1917 had caused 1500 casualties on the island. A subsequent earthquake of 6.5 Ms  southeast of Karangasem Regency on 18 December 1979 caused 27 deaths on the island and displaced a similar number of people as the 1976 event.


A Hindu temple in Buleleng before 1930.
The Braham Arama Vihara Buddhist monastery was heavily damaged and later repaired.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the 14 July shock occurred 915 km (569 mi) east-southeast of Jakarta at a depth of 25.4 km (15.8 mi) although the hypocenter may actually have been as deep as 40 km (25 mi). The main shock lasted for a duration of nearly a minute.[6] Several fumaroles reportedly formed in the Yeh Kuning sub-district of Jembrana and released sulfurous fumes.[4] The Jakarta Geophysical Service initially believed the epicenter to be in the Bali Strait, some 25 km (16 mi) west of the location observed by the USGS.[4] A subsequent shock of 5.9 Ms  occurred at 18:23 local time on 14 July a short distance north, although the hypocenter was at a more shallow 16.3 km (10.1 mi).[11]


According to data from the 1971 census, over nine hundred thousand people resided in the three regencies of the island that suffered significant structural damage and fatalities as a result of the shock; Buleleng, Jembrana and Tabanan.[6] At least 85,500 dwellings and 226 schools were destroyed within the three regencies, in addition to serious damage to 86 government offices, 29 health facilities, 7 markets, and dozens of religious sites.[6][7] The epicenter was only a few kilometers north of Seririt, a town with a population between forty and fifty thousand people and at that time the 3rd most populous in Bali.[12] Early reports by Reuters described Seririt as being 'flattened' and that '[sic] almost all the buildings in the town and bridges collapsed'.[13]

In the first few days, international media focused in particular on the plight of up to 200 school children who were reportedly trapped by the collapse of a single school building within Seririt town; the bodies of ten children were recovered on the day of the main shock, and another six bodies were reportedly recovered in following days.[14][15] More than 60 students died in the collapse of this particular school, however the exact name of the school remains unclear.[16]

The only Buddhist monastery in Bali, the Brahma Vihara Arama in Banjar village 4 km (2.5 mi) from Seririt, was severely damaged.

Damage to infrastructure in Busung Biu and other mountainous sub-districts meant that personnel of a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Medical Relief mission had to trek into mountain towns by foot, carrying supplies by hand. During the mission, the Singaporean team reportedly experienced three further damaging tremors.[17]

Although Seririt and rural sub-districts of Buleleng were most severely affected, a 60-bed hospital in the town of Negara was also completely destroyed.[6] The Taman Ujung historic site in Karangasem was also extensively damaged, exacerbating damage already caused by earthquakes associated with the volcanic eruption of Mount Agung in 1963.[18] It was felt in the Kuta and Denpasar areas, but only minor damage resulted.

Relief effortEdit

Indonesian Red Cross and Red Crescent (IRCS) and local government joint relief activity, led by the governor of Bali and operated from a provincial relief control center, largely met the emergency needs of the victims within four days. In-country contributions, both in cash and in kind, amounted to more than US$900,000.[7]

The armed forces of two nations, Australia and Singapore, dispatched direct humanitarian relief missions in response to damage caused by the temblor.

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta dispatched a team to Bali, including a consular official, to determine whether any Australian tourists were killed or injured. The team included an aid official to determine Australian aid requirements.[19]

On 17 July, the Australian destroyer escort HMAS Parramatta was diverted to the affected region from its planned destination, Singapore, to assist with medical personnel and stores, and to provide food and trained personnel.[20] On the same day, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs announced the donation of A$35,000 to the Government of Indonesia for use in assisting victims of the Balinese and Irian Jayan events.[21] At least 250 Royal Australian Navy personnel provided assistance to victims within Seririt sub-district, including fixing electrical infrastructure and restoring power to the damaged town. Two first aid posts were also established in neighboring villages and 150 were treated.[22]

On 19 July, the Ambassador of the United States to Indonesia exercised his disaster relief authority and purchased $6,000 worth of lanterns and sleep mats for distribution by Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE).[7]

On 22 July, the Government of Indonesia passed a request to the United States for blankets, tents, and cots. The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance created a fund worth over $200,000 to provide 1,000 blankets, 570 tents, and 310 cots to the Balinese relief effort from its stockpile in Singapore.[7] USAID also co-financed a $240,000 grant to CARE to assist in the reconstruction of one thousand low cost houses in the following months.[7]

On 27 July, a SAF Medical Relief mission of 20 personnel arrived in Bali with 3,500 kg (7,700 lb) of medical supplies and equipment. The team worked alongside medical teams from the IRCS and the University of Bandang and Diponegoro. Before returning to Singapore on 15 August, the SAF mission provided medical consultation, treatment and immunization to over three thousand victims.[17]

Recorded deaths by date (Source: Disaster in Bali caused by Earthquake, 1976)[6]
Date Buleleng Jembrana Tabanan Total
14 July 8 8
16 July 200 20 3 223
17 July 416 21 4 441
19 July 513 513
20 July 532 23 555
23 July 544 544
26 July 544 24 5 573

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ National Geophysical Data Center. "Significant Earthquake". Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  2. ^ USGS (November 8, 2008). "ShakeMap Atlas (Version 1.0) – 1976-07-14-0713". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  3. ^ Utsu, T. "Catalog of Damaging Earthquakes in the World (Through 2009)". International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Quake jolts island of Bali; 275 killed". Eugene Register-Guard. UPI. 15 July 1976. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Quake rips Bali, kills at least 223". The Morning Record. Associated Press. 16 July 1976. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Leimena, S. L. (1979). "Disaster in Bali caused by Earthquake, 1976 (A Report)". Disasters. 3 (1): 85–87. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7717.1979.tb00203.x. PMID 20958402.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Disaster case report: INDONESIA/BALI – Earthquake (PDF). Washington D.C.: Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Aid Assistance. pp. 1–4. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Bali quake; 200 children feared dead". Canberra Times. AAP. 17 July 1976. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Bali earthquake toll reaches 519 dead, 3,400 injured". Canberra Times. AAP. 20 July 1976. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  10. ^ McCaffrey, R.; Nabelek J. (1987). "Earthquakes, gravity, and the origin of the Bali Basin: an example of a nascent continental fold-and-thrust belt" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research. 92 (B1): 441–460. Bibcode:1987JGR....92..441M. doi:10.1029/jb092ib01p00441. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  11. ^ USGS (November 4, 2008). "ShakeMap Atlas (Version 1.0) – 1976-07-14-1023". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  12. ^ "220 killed as quake hits Bali". Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 July 1976. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  13. ^ "52 killed In Bali earthquake". Canberra Times. AAP & Reuters. 16 July 1976. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Bali earthquake takes 223 lives, injures 2350". Daily News. Associated Press. 15 July 1976. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  15. ^ "In brief; Earthquake". Canberra Times. AAP. 19 July 1976. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  16. ^ Arya, Dr. Anand (August 2002). "Consultant report on field survey of natural disasters" (PDF). preventionweb.net. United Nations Centre for Regional Development. p. 8. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Earthquake, Bali, 1976". Singapore Ministry of Defense. Singapore Armed Forces Medical Corps. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  18. ^ Yudantini, Ni Made. "Balinese traditional landscape". Faculty of Engineering, Udayana University. Archived from the original on 16 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  19. ^ "200 children feared dead". Canberra Times. AAP & Reuters. 17 July 1976. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  20. ^ "HMAS Parramatta (III)". navy.gov.au. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  21. ^ "$35,000 to quake victims". Canberra Times. 17 July 1976. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  22. ^ "RAN sailors light up Bali". Canberra Times. 20 July 1976. Retrieved 13 June 2015.

External linksEdit