BANGKOK, 12 April 2012 – According to earthquake experts, a second massive quake is predicted to erupt in the Indian Ocean near Nicobar Islands and Ranong province of Thailand within days.
Dr. Thanawat Charupongsakul, an expert at the disaster and geographic information study unit, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, held a joint press conference with a Japanese seismologist, during which he said that following the nearly magnitude 9 earthquake yesterday, a series of tremors are likely to continue to batter the area.
The seismologists said the quakes yesterday, measuring at 8.8 and 8.9 on the Richter scale and centered at a depth of 33 kilometers, were followed by as many as 26 aftershocks with magnitudes of 5 and above.
The quakes were reportedly strike-slip, with the rocks at the site moving horizontally in nature. They occurred in a similar location as the 2004 major earthquake but the pattern suggests the quakes are moving further up north.
Dr Thanawat said generally full-scale earthquakes in the region occur every 200-600 years but geologists have detected a recent sharp increase in earthquake frequency. For instance, he said a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan on March 9 last year was thought to be a main shock but nobody knew it would be followed by a more powerful one with a magnitude of 9 on March 11, just two days later.
Therefore, the experts urged relevant authorities to continue to keep a close watch on the situation as another big quake can be expected within a few days, possibly somewhere off the coast of Nicobar Islands, near Ranong province. If the prediction comes true, a powerful tsunami is expected to be triggered and reach the coast of Thailand within 30 minutes.
(NNT : Narumon Ngamsaithong)