Donated Singaporean GPS units to track risk of megaquake
TO better monitor the fault lines under Myanmar and keep watch for a megaquake, a Singaporean research network has donated 10 fault-tracking global positioning system (GPS) devices to be installed across the country.
The GPS devices, which are set underground, measure the movement of plates and faults. Currently, Myanmar has only eight active GPS devices, which are installed in places like Chin State’s Hakha township, Mon State’s Kyaikto township, Bago Region’s Waw township and Sagaing Region’s Shwebo and Kani townships, and at Mile 30 of the Yangon-Mandalay highway.
The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) plans to set the 10 new GPS devices as soon as the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology approves their donation, Myanmar Earthquake Committee (MEC) researcher Daw Hla Hla Aung said.
“We are deciding where to put them and waiting for the permit,” she said.
There is no GPS tracking station in Myanmar so the data is captured and analysed by the EOS, based at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The findings are shared with Myanmar officials, MEC officials said.
The donation was made prior to the publication of a recent Columbia University study, which used data from fault-tracking GPS devices in Bangladesh and found that a fault lying underneath Myanmar could produce a magnitude-9.0 earthquake. Researchers at Yangon University’s MEC have decried the country’s lack of earthquake-analyses technology.
In Myanmar, preparation for a quake is almost nonexistent. Last year, UN-Habitat announced plans to develop earthquake response procedures for Yangon, which sits near the Sagaing fault. Experts called a magnitude-6.8 earthquake that struck in upper Myanmar in 2012 a “wake-up call”, citing a lack of preparedness.
A man rides his bicycle alongside a large crevasse on a badly damaged road in Khu Le village, Singu township, Mandalay Division, on November 12, 2012, after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked central Myanmar.