English | Dzongkha Monday, August 20, 2018

New seismology division to prepare and predict earthquakes

Nov 24, 2010

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As Bhutan lies in Seismic Zone Five, a region most prone to earthquakes, the Department of Geology and Mines has proposed the need for a new seismology division to prepare and predict earthquake hazards in the country.

The recent and the major earthquake that is still afresh in the minds of the Bhutanese was the September 21 quake that shook the nation last year.

But the magnitude and likely aftershocks could not be ascertained for lack of  proper seismic stations and experts.

Today, concerns over earthquakes have prompted the Economic Affairs Ministry to propose the need for a separate seismology division. The division according to the Department of Geology and Mines will install five seismic stations with seismometers initially and later increase it to 10.

Seismometers are instruments that measure motions of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, nuclear explosions and other seismic sources. This will help measure the magnitude of earthquakes and its epicentres.

It will also help develop earthquake database for the country which will in turn help prepare earthquake hazard map, predict future earthquakes and promote scientific research.

Dr. Karma Kuenza from the Department of Geology and Mines said that although earthquakes cannot be prevented, the damages can be minimized through mitigation and preparedness measures.

The Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Jimgi Y. Thinley welcomed the  proposal and asked the Department to collaborate with institutions abroad to help them plan better.

The Economic Affairs Minister, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk said that the ministry will require a budget of  Nu. 67 million to installation the seismic stations across the country by the end of the 10th Five Year Plan.

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