Earth­quake ex­perts to study tec­tonic move­ment in Myan­mar

The Myanmar Times - - News - PHYO WAI KYAW phy­owaikyaw@mm­times.com

A RE­SEARCH project aim­ing to gather more ac­cu­rate data on the move­ment of tec­tonic plates in Myan­mar will be un­der­taken across the coun­try un­til May 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Myan­mar Earth­quake Com­mit­tee.

Seis­mo­graphs have been in­stalled across the coun­try start­ing in May this year. The first equip­ment went up on the Myan­mar-In­dia bor­der, and then fur­ther in­stal­la­tions were made across Magwe, Sa­gaing and Man­dalay re­gions, as well as in Shan and Chin states. “Forty-five de­vices have been in­stalled so far. In Novem­ber, the re­main­ing 20 de­vices, which we were un­able to in­stall ear­lier this year due to in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity dur­ing the rainy sea­son, will be in­stalled in Chin State,” said U Myo Thant. “We are aim­ing to ex­am­ine the rate at which sub­duc­tion is oc­cur­ring be­tween two tec­tonic plates that meet in Myan­mar.”

Sub­duc­tion is a ge­o­log­i­cal process that takes place along bound­aries of tec­tonic plates where one plate moves un­der an­other and is forced down into the earth’s man­tle.

These ar­eas, known as sub­duc­tion zones, are hotspots of ge­o­log­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and are of­ten where the planet’s most se­vere earth­quakes, tsunamis and vol­canic erup­tions oc­cur. Two of South­ern Asia’s largest plates abut in Myan­mar.

Ac­cord­ing to U Myo Thant, data will be col­lected quar­terly for a pe­riod of one year. If in­suf­fi­cient data has been col­lected af­ter a year, the project will be ex­tended, he added.

While pro­mot­ing the im­por­tance of the re­search project, U Myo Thant also stressed the need to un­der­take earth­quake pre­pared­ness mea­sures.

“Al­though our re­search is im­por­tant, it is also im­por­tant to take steps to re­duce the de­struc­tion caused by earth­quake dis­as­ters,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to a widely recog­nised earth­quake haz­ard scale, many of Myan­mar’s ma­jor cities – in­clud­ing Man­dalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Sa­gaing, Bago and Taun­goo – are lo­cated in the high­est level 5 earth­quake risk cat­e­gory.

The Myan­mar Earth­quake Com­mit­tee will un­der­take the re­search project in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Depart­ment of Ge­ol­ogy at Man­dalay Univer­sity and the Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ence.

Photo: EPA

Singu town­ship was one of many dam­aged by earth­quakes in 2012.

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