October 20, 2017

Be alert after an earthquake

File photo shows the Yadanatheinkha Bridge that was destroyed in 2012 by an earthquake in Thabeikkyin. Photo: MNA

Daw Hla Hla Aung, a patron of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, said that the earthquake that hit nearby Taikkyi in Yangon Region Monday night was a relatively strong one compared to the quakes which have hit the country so far this year.
“The preceding ones were not strong compared to this and relatively small in magnitude. In the surrounding Yangon area, there were many of these earthquakes. Now the quake reached a big magnitude on the Richter scale — the biggest in all,” she said.
An official with the earthquake branch of meteorological and seismological department in Nay Pyi Taw warned that people, especially in the Yangon Region, needed to be alert during an earthquake. According to meteorological and seismological department, there were 17 earthquakes in Myanmar between 1st January and 13th March, eight in January, four in February and five this month.
As regards to the frequent quakes, Daw Hla Hla Aung of Myanmar Earthquake Committee pointed out that more earthquake monitoring machines have been installed in recent years, informing us of small tremors nearly all the time.
“It is difficult for us to say whether a strong earthquake might follow tremors. Tremors did not tremble from the same fault. Tremors are coming from many faults, so it is difficult to relate one to the other. If I were asked if there was a possibility of imminent quakes, my answer would be ‘Yes.’ Care and alertness is needed, especially in big cities. The Yangon populace felt a lot for the effect of Taikkyi earthquake. Especially, Yangon city dwellers must be careful about earthquakes which will come from the Sagaing Fault,” said Dr Myo Thant, vice-chairman of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee.
He added, “There is the West Bago Yoma fault nearby. It is assumed that tremors came from that fault, but there have never been any records of tremors reaching over a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale.”
The Myanmar Earthquake committee made studies of the interior of the Kabaw fault in concert with international experts.
The Chauk Earthquake in August 2016 did not ruin buildings apart from the many religious pagodas and stupas, which are buildings of great importance. There used to be strong earthquakes in Myanmar about once in a century. Dr Myo Thant assessed that a Bago earthquake is expected to hit between 80-100 years.
“Yangon is over-crowded with the populace, so Yangon city dwellers need to be careful,” Dr Myo Thant said.
To monitor earthquakes and alleviate earthquake-related danger, the Kabar-Aye Earthquake Observatory Center was set up in 1961, the Mandalay centre in 1966, the Sittwe center in 1984 and the Dawei center in 1985.
After a big earthquake, there can be dangerous tremors, risk of fire and damages to dams, the possibility of volcano eruptions, landslides and tsunamis.
In the history of major earthquakes across the world, the quake that the Manchurian Province in China on 4 February 1975 was predicted beforehand, according to earthquake records.—Nay Lin (MNA)

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