Earthquake in Chiang Mai 2014.

A prominent seismologist has warned that all provinces in the North and the West are vulnerable to powerful earthquakes as a result of shaking “blind” faults that have not been officially recorded.

He added that any new building construction in the region should put more emphasis on earthquake-resistant engineering to limit the damage if they are hit by quakes.

It is understood among seismic wave scientists that earthquakes “could occur anywhere and anytime”. This is despite the fact that many places are not located close to faults as there are many “blind” faults under the earth which cannot be detected or their locations established by scientists.

Many scientists believe it is possible those blind faults are located in all provinces in the North and West. It is estimated that these “blind” faults could cause earthquakes of up to 7 on the richter scale.

The Engineering Institute of Thailand and the Thailand Research Fund organised a seminar on “Earthquake Management and Disaster Mitigation”, which shared earthquake studies with the public.

The seminar agreed that all future building projects should take these facts into consideration. The 2014 quake in Chiang Mai was a warning that needs to be heeded.

The local administrative organisation in the province later issued regulations that any building with three storeys or more should be constructed based on a quake-resistant system.

Provinces at risk should introduce similar regulations immediately to limit damage should a disaster take place. The challenge is how to manage buildings with two storeys or single-level buildings as there is no law enforcement in these cases. The public needs to be educated about the risk of quakes and make sure they are well-prepared.

Bangkok could be affected by earthquakes a long way away, due to the influence of soft mud in the capital, which could amplify the power of an earthquake by four times. The AIT’s study has predicted that 17 high-rise buildings in the capital will collapse if there is a strong quake.

The study was performed two years ago, but more information needs to be gathered to predict possible damage, particularly regarding the soil.

(Source: Bangkok Post)


By Juninho

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