The 7.4-magnitude earthquake that wrought devastation in Central Sulawesi on Sept. 28 was a scientific prophecy that came true. Armed with evidence of similar catastrophes in the area more than a century ago, scientists had warned of a potential tectonic calamity years before the monstrous quake struck, triggering a tsunami and land liquefaction.

by Safrin La Batu & Kharishar Kahfi

The danger they referred to is the 500-kilometer fault line bisecting Sulawesi from the Palu Bay in the north to the Bone Bay in the south. It is the second-longest after the Sumatran fault line, which spans 1,900 km. History shows that the seemingly dormant monster violently shakes the Earth every 130 years or so. The next-to-latest disaster occurred in 1909. Then, according to Dutch scientists, ...