Author Topic: Thailand deemed safe from a serious land earthquake  (Read 593 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

Thailand deemed safe from a serious land earthquake
« on: April 29, 2012, 09:10:06 AM »
Thailand deemed safe from a serious land earthquake

Fault lines are scattered around the country, but are not a major problem. Experts say a future catastrophe is more likely to be generated way off the western coast by the Sunda, Burma and India plates
A frightening scenario of hundreds of buildings crashing down and tsunami surges devastating vast areas of Thailand is unlikely, experts say, even though numerous fault lines criss-cross the country.

NOT THE END OF THE WORLD: Residents enjoy an outing organised by Phuket provincial authorities to boost people’s confidence in public safety following a recent earthquake and rumours that the island would sink yesterday.

Thailand, they believe, faces a low risk of major damage from an earthquake. The main problem is fear itself based on ignorance, which was abundant recently in Phuket where residents have suffered tremors for two weeks.

Phuket still here: Saturday quake nonsense proved wrong
Geological studies reveal at least 14 fault lines running through the north, west and south of the country.

Twelve are in the north and west and two _ the Ranong and Khong Marui fault lines _ run through Ranong, Phuket, Phangnga and Surat Thani provinces.

Over the past 60 years, Thailand has been hit by 80 earthquakes with epicentres located on land. Most measured between 2 and 4 on the Richter scale, with only eight having a magnitude greater than 5.

But all of Thailand's fault lines are classified as ''normal'', or diverging faults, which means the Earth plates move away from each other until there is land subsidence.

Major earthquakes are usually caused by transform faults, which are two plates moving horizontally in opposite directions.

Chulalongkorn University's Geology Department and the Mineral Resources Department believe that despite public concerns Thailand has little to fear from earthquakes.

''In the opinion of geologists like us, we consider we have a low earthquake risk from the fault lines,'' said professor Thanawat Jarupongsakul, of the department's Disaster and Land Information Studies unit.

But Thailand is at risk from three plates to its west _ the Sunda, Burma and India plates _ which have been moving against each other and causing subduction zones where one plate slips beneath another. Large slips result in major earthquakes.

The 2004 Asian tsunamai was caused by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake when the India plate slipped under the Burma plate off the coast of Sumatra, according to the US Geological Survey.

In April this year, the India plate moved against the Sunda plate, prompting earthquakes of 8.6 and 8.2 magnitudes with after shocks.

What the geologists are keeping an eye on is whether subterranean activities in the Andaman sea will have an impact on local ground activity.

On April 16, when a 5.3 aftershock occurred in the Andaman, almost at the same time the Khlong Marui fault became active, resulting in a 4.3 magnitude earthquake and a series of smaller ones.

Mr Thanawat said geologists would continue monitoring the after affects of the April 16 quake. If they continue to diminish in intensity he believes they can be regarded as routine and there is no long-term threat to public safety.

However, Mr Thanawat and his colleagues have become concerned about an undersea transform fault line next to the India/Burma subduction zone which runs from Sumatra to Burma. The transform fault is closer to Thailand and connects to another major transform line in Burma called Sakeng.

The fault line only came to local geologists' attention when they exchanged information recently with their Japanese colleagues, Mr Thanawat said.

After the major earthquake on April 11 they have paid closer attention to the fault line. Dr Thanawat said according to the Japanese, the fault has no record of activity for 50 years. He says geologists are now concerned it may become more active after the recent tremors.

The closest the fault line comes to Thailand is Barren Island opposite Ranong. If an earthquake triggered a tsunami it could reach Ranong within 30 minutes, Mr Thanawat said.

But he urged people not to be afraid and accept that Thailand is located in an earthquake and tsunami risk zone, so they should be prepared for the risks.

Amorn Pimanmas, associate professor of the Project Committee at the Engineering Institute of Thailand agreed that Thailand was at low risk of localised earthquakes. But he cautioned that in the event of a tremor, damage could be worsened by lack of preparation, such as not constructing buildings to minimise the impact.

Mr Amorn said improving earthquake safety would only add 10% to construction costs. ''We still have a low awareness about these kinds of disasters. We need to prepare ourselves as best we can as we don't know when they will strike,'' he said.

Lertsin Raksaskulwong, director of the Environmental Geology and Geohazard Bureau, said state authorities and geologists have been trying their best to develop a local body of knowledge about earthquakes and tsunamis based on quake history.

He agreed the country was at low risk from localised earthquakes.

Mr Lertsin urged the public to learn more about earthquakes. He said public awareness was still low which was why people choose to believe in rumours rather than facts, as is happening in Phuket at the moment.

''Earthquakes are beyond humans' knowledge in the sense that we have no idea when they will happen. But we can prepare ourselves better by learning more about them and therefore know better how to deal with them,'' Mr Lertsin said.

Bangkok Post
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  • Guest
Re: Thailand deemed safe from a serious land earthquake
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2012, 09:19:14 AM »
The best way to protect yourself from an earthquake is to visit the nearest temple and give money to the monks. When you get home, give the spirit houses some food, 40 Degree and a lighted cigarette. There, what could be simpler than that?

Offline thaiga

Re: Thailand deemed safe from a serious land earthquake
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2012, 03:47:33 PM »
Or you could look in your crystal balls n see it coming

Phuket survives
Not only did the fortune teller fail totally, but earthquake experts say that Thailand is actually at greater risk from ignorance than actual quakes.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.