UAE to get quake watch centre

Saturday's mild earthquake has prompted plans for a monitoring centre.
UAE to get quake watch centre
By Safura Rahimi and agencies
Mon 12 Mar 2007 05:46 PM

The UAE is to set up an earthquake monitoring centre, after mild tremors that shook the emirates on Saturday night prompted warnings from experts of possible bigger quakes in the future, according to reports.

Repeated seismic activity near Iran's Qeshm island has indicated the possibility of further earthquakes in the region and yesterday prompted the Ministerial Service Council to approve plans for the new Centre for Earthquakes and Meteorology, WAM reported.

Saturday's tremors - measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale and occurring 18 km below sea level - hit just after 10pm and were felt the most in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, causing no casualties or property damage.

A professor at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) said the epicentre of the earthquake was located in the Arabian Gulf, 74km south west of Qeshm and about 160km from Sharjah and Dubai.

"It was very close to the place where an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale struck on November 27, 2005. This is not a good sign. Repeated seismic activity in the same spot indicates a bigger earthquake in the waiting," Dr. Jamal A. Abdullah said in a post quake analysis and quoted in Gulf News.

He added that it is not known when the quake might occur, but that "there is a probability that it could happen during the next 50 years."

Because of the UAE's proximity to Iran's highly seismic Zagros Fault, Dr. Abdullah explained that the UAE is also 'vulnerable' to earthquakes occurring in the area.

The meteorology and seismic monitoring centre was approved during a meeting presided over by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

The new centre will be affiliated to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and will be established in coordination with the concerned authorities, according to WAM.

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