Measures to establish 5th seismic station in WP | Daily News

Measures to establish 5th seismic station in WP

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera emphasized that preliminary steps have been taken to establish the 5th seismic station in the Western Province (WP) to measure earthquakes occurring in and around Sri Lanka.

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera at a media briefing yesterday (15) commented on the comments made by Prof. Athula Senaratne of the University of Peradeniya to the media that Sri Lanka is likely to face a major earthquake in the near future.

“I discussed this with the geologists at the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau. We have appointed a committee of doctors and professors to look into these earthquakes. Professor Athula Senaratne also represents the committee. But those geologists emphasized to me that this was not discussed in the committee. But no one can rule out the possibility of an earthquake. But there is still no technology in the world to forecast when it will happen,” he said.

“You are aware that minor earthquakes have been reported from time to time inland as well as in the seas close to our country during the last two years. Therefore, there is a fear in the society regarding the possibility of an earthquake in our country in a very short time. These minor earthquakes were first reported in the area around Victoria Reservoir near Kandy. Therefore, as the Minister of Environment, I appointed a committee consisting of university professors to investigate and report on these earthquakes. GSMB Chairman Anura Walpola was appointed as its Chairman.

“The report also made a number of recommendations. According to the recommendations, 10 seismometers will be installed at several other locations along the Victoria Dam to study seismic conditions. About two months ago we installed the same 10 seismometers in ten places in Kandy suburbs. Also, steps have been taken “to implement all the recommendations of the report.

Apart from Kandy, earthquakes were also reported from Badulla, Madolsima, Lunugamvehera and Hambantota recently. Also, two earthquakes of significant magnitude were reported in the sea area close to our country in a short period of time.

“Therefore, I instructed GSMB yesterday to take immediate action in this regard. Yesterday the institute held a discussion with geologists. The details are provided by the geologists.

“As currently discussed, there are currently four seismic stations in our country. But geologists are of the opinion that only three are sufficient for our country. Nevertheless, we are taking steps to establish the 5th centre in the Western Province. It costs a lot of money. The necessary steps have already been taken for that,” the Minister said.

Senior seismologist Nilmini Thaldena said that at no time could anyone predict an earthquake in the future. Although Sri Lanka is not in an earthquake risk zone, Indonesia is prone to tsunamis due to earthquakes. “When the 2004 tsunami hit us, our country was not ready for it, but now we have all the necessary precautions in place to reduce the risk,” she said.

She also said that the equipment currently available in our country is very adequate for measuring earthquakes. “However, we will discuss further with the relevant expert committee in this regard and if there are any shortcomings, we will take steps to rectify them,” she said. Mapping Division Director Geologist Ajith Preenama was also present.


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