Ab­sence of af­ter­shocks rat­tles ge­ol­o­gists

The Myanmar Times - - News - KYI KYI SWE news­room@mm­times.com

A SE­NIOR ge­ol­o­gist in Thai­land has warned that the 6.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake that shook cen­tral Myan­mar last week could be fol­lowed by an even stronger seis­mic event, given the ab­sence of af­ter­shocks so far.

Suwit Kho­suwan, the ac­tive fault di­rec­tor of Thai­land’s De­part­ment of Min­eral Re­sources, was quoted in the Bangkok Post as say­ing that of­fi­cials in his de­part­ment were closely mon­i­tor­ing the Rakhine Fault – which caused the Au­gust 24 quake – for an af­ter­shock, and that with­out one there could be an­other strong quake of at least 7.0 mag­ni­tude.

There had been three fore­shocks pre­ced­ing the earth­quake cen­tred 25 kilo­me­tres (16 miles) west of Chauk in Magwe Re­gion, Mr Suwit said, adding that it was “strange” that there had not been any af­ter­shocks.

U Myo Thant, sec­re­tary of the Myan­mar Earth­quake Com­mit­tee, said af­ter­shocks could oc­cur up to two months af­ter the main earth­quake, with mag­ni­tudes of around 5.0 to 6.0.

“The Au­gust 24 earth­quake was caused by the sub­duc­tion of the In­dia tec­tonic plate un­der the Burma plate,” he said.

He added that the 6.9-mag­ni­tude quake that struck on April 13 at a depth of 122 kilo­me­tres (76 miles) was also caused by the move­ment of the In­dia and Burma plates.

“If these 6.8 and 6.9 earthquakes were fore­shocks rather than main shocks, could an even more pow­er­ful quake be lurk­ing in the fu­ture? This is just one pos­si­bil­ity that we are con­sid­er­ing,” U Myo Thant said.

“I don’t want to spec­u­late on the prob­a­bil­ity, but it’s bet­ter to stay alert. It’s too early to guess why there have not been any af­ter­shocks [since the Au­gust 24 tremor].”

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