Fri, 01 Dec 2000

Seismometer stolen from BMG station

BOGOR (JP): A seismometer belonging to the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) and used to detect and monitor earthquakes and underground nuclear explosions has been missing since early last month, an official said on Thursday.

The seismometer disappeared from the BMG station at Pancar Mountain in Cibinong, Bogor.

Dadang, the coordinator of data processing at the BMG office for Region II, said the equipment was stolen by a group of unidentified men.

"We suspect the instrument has been missing since Nov. 6 because the data transfer from Cibinong to the head office in Ciputat (South Jakarta) was halted about 2 p.m. that day," he said.

"When we checked the station ... the seismometer was gone. Several cables connecting the device and the antenna had also been cut off," Dadang said.

The losses from the theft are estimated at up to Rp 2 billion (US$212,765), he said.

The seismometer, located underground at a depth of 2.5 meters, consists of several sensors, two batteries, several solar cables and an antenna cable.

"Temporarily we will be unable to detect earthquakes and underground explosions, especially those resulting from nuclear blast," Widiastuti, a climatologist, said.

Dadang said it was unlikely someone unfamiliar with the use of the seismometer would have stolen the device.

"If regular thieves stole it, it would end up in a flea market. Such a sensor is also useful for those involved in mining, but so far the police have not found any leads," Dadang said. (21/edt)