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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                             6  September 2011

Vietnam could face earthquakes

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The Institute for Geophysics, run by the Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology, has completed a project aimed at strengthening the country's earthquake supervision and warning system.

At a conference held by the institute in Hanoi yesterday, both domestic and international experts shared their experiences based on developing measures related to timely warning systems for the purposes of minimising damage and loss.

It was expected that the project be carried out by 2013, said Le Huy Minh, deputy director of the Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology.

As part of the project, 36 modern earthquake supervision stations will be set up across the country, information from which would be passed to the institute via internet and satellite.

Viet Nam's current 25 earthquake supervision stations were outdated, with their speed of analysis and transmission being low, Minh said.

"It currently takes the stations 15-20 minutes to analyse new parameters, which can only be transmitted 30 minutes later, affecting how the country is able to cope with strong earthquake," he added.

"Although Viet Nam is situated outside world earthquake centres, the country still faces latent quake danger due to its active fault zones, including those in Lai Chau-Dien Bien and Son La and those along the Ma, Hong (Red) and Ca rivers," Minh confirmed.

Fault zones are networks of interconnected fractures representing the surface expressions of a fault.

"While Vietnam's earthquakes are seldom severe, they have revealed that the country's earthen crust is not completely stable," Minh noted.

The northwest of the country as well as the seas off Phan Thiet and Vung Tau cities currently faced the highest risks, he said, adding that, during the past few years, these areas have seen earthquakes measuring around 4.7 on the Richter scale.

"Although forecasting an earthquake is next to impossible, it is indeed possible to give areas at high risk due warning," Minh said.


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