Sunday, August 8, 2010

Meeting with Danny Hilman

Friday, July 16th, 2010, 8:30pm: Borobudur Hotel lobby

Danny Hilman from LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Science)

Danny Hilman is one of the main people who has been working on the tsunami source modeling in Padang along with Kerry Sieh. Through their research, in addition to many other geophysical findings, they produced the most appropriate earthquake magnitude, depth and distance that would create the tsunami in Padang for which we are trying to design in our project. From this source, the inundation maps were created. Of note, we discussed briefly that a rupture on the Mentawai Fault (chain of islands off coast of Padang), though the fault is not as big, could also cause a tsunami in Padang. Additionally, it would only take 10-15 minutes to arrive onshore rather than the 20-25 minutes predicted for an earthquake on the Sunda Trench.

Our meeting was late for a good reason this time. Danny was in an important meeting at the presidential palace to finalize the seismic hazard map (what engineers will use for design for earthquakes) for the whole country of Indonesia that has not been updated since 2001. That map was not very detailed at all, and we found out from Danny that there were 4 maps originally in 2001, and they could not decide on one, so they averaged them all (not exactly scientific). Therefore, the new map is a giant step in the right direction for design in Indonesia, especially Padang. Part of our meeting was discussing this, and we were even able to get the map on our computers before the newspapers (it was on the front page the next day)! The map should be finalized in September and applied to the building code which should be available early next year.

Danny is very connected in the seismic world, especially Indonesia. Therefore, he had a lot of good contacts for people we should talk with to help our project, and he would introduce us via email. This is how we were able to meet the head of Civil Engineering at the Bandung Institute of Technology and a researcher at LIPI who has done liquefaction potential maps for Padang on our second trip to Java (these meetings will be/are on the blog as well).

Along with other discussion about our project and some catching up, Danny discussed his ideas about increasing collaboration between West Sumatra, Bandung, and Jakarta through video conferencing and other technological advances that are available. Currently, much of the research is done in Bandung, the money is in Jakarta, and Padang needs the support, but meetings generally need to be done in person in order to have any effect. The discussions need to occur more often than that in order to keep progressing through a project since most of the experts in Indonesia do not live in Padang. We hope that this idea comes to fruition because there could be great work done with more collaboration.

We had a great discussion with Danny, and it was the start of a perfect Friday (and last) night in Jakarta.

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