Funded in part by
NSF grant 0538333

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An important aspect of the Sumatran Plate Boundary Project is our interaction with the outside world. That diverse world includes the people of western Sumatra, officials at various levels of the Indonesian and U.S. governments, and students and teachers outside Caltech. This page is an introduction to information that we hope will be interesting and useful to that wide range of individuals.

outreach materials Educational Outreach

Currently, our educational outreach efforts focus on distributing posters, brochures and GPS station data sheets to people living on the Mentawai and Batu islands during our field sessions, beginning in July 2004. These materials explain why many of the islands are slowly sinking, in the decades between large earthquakes and also why the islands suddenly spring up during the infrequent large earthquakes. Furthermore, the materials explain the purpose of our GPS stations, present the data, and give some suggestions of how to limit damage and losses during future earthquakes and tsunamis.

Media releases associated with published scientific papers

27 May 2008
Caltech Media Release:
Stress Buildup Precedes Large Sumatra Quakes

Published paper: Heterogeneous coupling of the Sumatran megathrust constrained by geodetic and paleogeodetic measurements

The Straits Times, 27 February 2008
Quakes fuel fears of 'Big One' coming
Sumatra's series of five tremblers doesn't look good, says Professor Kerry Sieh.

Articles and video in the international news

The New York Times, 28 July 2007
Indonesian Town Begins Preparations for the Next Tsunami
"...historical records, seismic monitoring by global positioning sensors and a careful study of growth patterns of corals converged in a remarkably precise prediction of a major earthquake and tsunami here within the next 30 years."

publication Science Magazine; NewsFocus, October 2006
The Day the Land Tipped Over
Indonesia's major earthquake last year tilted Nias Island like a seesaw, disrupting villagers' lives and pointing to future dangers.

Science Magazine, March 2006

Study of 2004 Tsunami Disaster Forces Rethinking of Theory of Giant Earthquakes: Caltech News Release, March 1, 2006

More in the news:

Caltech media releases, maps, photos and weblogs
Articles in the Media
  • Scientists Voice Tsunami Concern: BBC News Science, December 20, 2005

  • Quaking Earth, Racing Waves 1.7MB, ASK magazine, Arts and Science for Kids, October 2005

  • Reprinted by permission of Cricket Magazine Group, Carus Publishing Company, from ASK magazine October 2005, text (c) 2005 by Carus Publishing Company, artwork (c) 2005 by Jo Lynn Alcorn

  • A Geologist in the Field: Discover Magazine on line, June 01, 2005

  • How Science Can Save Lives: Time Asia Magazine, January 03, 2005

August 2005 conference
Padang, Indonesia

Declaration of Participants in the International Conference on the Sumatran Earthquake Challenge


Word document




(click on presentation
image or pdf icon to download files)

To Singaporean government officials, April 1, 2003.

PDF version 1.6MB

To the villagers of Silabu, south Pagai island, August 2004.

PDF version 2.0MB

Our first educational posters and brochures, June 4,2004.

PDF version 2.7MB

Summarizing Sumatran results as of 2002 to scientists involved in the study of subduction in the US Pacific Northwest.

PDF version 7.3MB

December 2004 AGU presentation.

PDF version 5.5MB

March 11 2005 Caltech Discovery Weekend presentation.

PDF version 6.2MB

This research has been supported in large part by NSF Grants EAR-9628301, EAR-9804732, EAR-9804970, EAR-9903301, and EAR-0208508. Our initial explorations of the possibilities in Sumatra were bank-rolled by a generous, spontaneous gift from the several members of the Caltech Associates.

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