Thursday 6 September 2012
Last Update 6 September 2012 4:53 am
JEDDAH: An expert ruled out the occurrence of devastating earthquakes in Saudi Arabia over the next 100 years.
“Seismic activity underneath Saudi Arabia will remain normal and if any disturbances do occur over the next 100 years, they will not pose any danger as their magnitude will never exceed 4.5 on the Richter Scale,” said Ali Al-Shukri, head of the Astronomical Sciences Department at King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals.
The latest tremor registering a magnitude of 4.5 near the Kingdom occurred at an undersea location 181 km off Farasan Island in the Red Sea on Sept. 2.
Satellite images showed that the Arabian tectonic plate and the African plate were moving away from each other, stretching the Earth's crust and widening the southern end of the Red Sea.
Al-Shukri said tremors in the Kingdom are confined to the western and northwestern regions, such as Al-Ais and nearby areas.
He said other regions in the Kingdom might experience light tremors that could not be felt by humans. Tremors that people may feel at times are the result of oil drilling and rock breaking.
He commended the capability of the Kingdom’s seismic sensing stations to detect minute tremors even 5,000 km away.
Fifty major earthquake-sensing stations with 150 branches in different parts of the Kingdom are tracking even the lightest tremors in the country and nearby regions.
Al-Shukri warned against the practice of builders using the cheapest materials for construction with scant regard for safety. He urged them to adhere to high construction standards so that the buildings they construct can withstand tremors and avoid collapse or cause the least damage when a tremor occurs.
He praised the Japanese construction industry — the most advanced in the world — for building structures that can withstand earthquakes. The Japanese are ready for tremors anytime.
He said tremors are the result of adjustments in the crust of the earth caused by the movement of subterranean tectonic plates. “It is a universal phenomenon found even in other planets,” he said.
Regions such as the eastern Philippines, north and northwestern Australia, Indonesia, Japan and those on the rim of Indian Ocean are earthquake-prone areas. He said the Atlantic Rim also showed signs of underground seismic activities resulting in rifts in Central Africa and South America.
Al-Shukri did not rule out the possibility of strong quakes in California accompanied by huge tsunamis in coming years.
Arab News is not responsible for the view points, opinions and actions expressed by online commenters. Individual posts do not reflect Arab News' points of view or opinion, and abusive content will be removed