December quake moved Phuket 27cm

LONDON: Scientists say that Phuket moved 27 centimeters to the southwest when the massive tsunami-generating quake erupted near Sumatra on December 26 last year, and moved a further 7cm in the 50 days following the quake.

Writing in the latest issue of the respected Nature magazine, published yesterday, scientists say that the quake ripped a gash in the Earth’s crust more that 1,000 kilometers long, stretching in an arc from Sumatra to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The team also worked out that the rupture initially traveled at more than 13,000kmh then at a more leisurely 7,000kmh along a second segment.

The team of Dutch, French, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai and US researchers used data gathered from some 60 global positioning system (GPS) sites in Southeast Asia. They learned that the positions of observation stations as far away as 3,000km from the quake’s epicenter had shifted as a result the seismic event, one of the largest in recorded history.

In southern China, observation stations moved by around a centimeter toward the epicenter, they found.

Phuket News

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