Officials play down Phuket earthquakes

PHUKET: Officials today played down fears that the 4.6 magnitude earthquake off Phuket this morning signaled potentially more destructive temblors from the same fault line in the future (story here).

The quake struck at 4:18am, with an epicenter about 20 kilometers off Phuket’s east coast, Governor Nisit Jansomwong told the press this morning. Following the governor’s announcement, a second, lighter earthquake struck in the same area (story here).

“The quake failed to trigger a tsunami warning,” Governor Nisit said. “After the earthquake, all local officials and village leaders throughout Phuket were ordered to inspect their areas and file damage reports. There were none filed.”

Gov Nisit assured that the earthquake provided no cause for alarm. He said that the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) and other relevant government agencies were monitoring the situation.

“They will update the public as necessary,” he noted.

Santhawat Riwleung, chief of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Phuket office, concurred.

“The quake struck at a depth of 4km, but measured only 4.6 in magnitude,” he told the Phuket Gazette this morning.

“For an earthquake to cause a tsunami, it would need to be at least 6.5 Richters, depending on where the earthquake strikes.”

Mr Santhawat added that the fault line along which this morning’s quake shuddered – officially called the Klong Marui fault – was unlikely to unleash earth-shattering devastation.

“Earthquakes along this fault should not register more than 5 Richters, so please do not panic,” he assured.

“However, I will ask the Department of Mineral Resources to confirm my understanding about how serious the earthquakes along this fault can be.”

The Klong Marui fault is regarded by the Department of Mineral Resources as a ‘basin-binding fault’, rather than a ‘major strike-slip fault’.

The Klong Marui fault is also responsible for many of the hot springs on the mainland that have become major tourist attractions, the department notes.

To view a full map of 15 active fault zones in Thailand, click here.

— Chutharat Plerin

Phuket News
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