The mysterious cracks in the ground, discovered in Di Linh Town, in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, were likely caused by activate fault lines, but were no cause for concern according to seismic experts.
Di Linh –
Residents on Nguyen Van Troi Street were told to evacuate after up-to-5cm-wide cracks damaged a house last Sunday, putting at least 20 houses at risk by damaging their walls.
The widening cracks were first noticed by locals about a week ago.
Rumours that the cracks were the result of the over-exploitation of underground water supplies were found to be groundless, Associate Professor Cao Dinh Trieu told Viet Nam News this morning.
"The exploitation of underground water supplies could have caused the appearance of cracks if this was a low lying delta region, but we are in the highlands," said a Geophysics Institute expert and Second Vice President of the Asian Seismological Committee.
"It is likely that there has been movement in underground faults [a planar fracture or discontinuity in the volume of rock, across which there has been significant displacement] but no earthquake or tremor could result because of this," he said.
It is a view shared by Dr Do Van Linh, Deputy Head of the Southern Geological Map Federation according to whom the cracks involve a fault line named Bao Lam - Tam Hiep, which has seen significant recent activity.
"If cracks in rock and soil occur underground, there can be no earthquakes seeing as fault energy has already been released," said Linh.
However, Deputy Chairman of the Viet Nam Geophysics Association Truong Minh suggested that more on-site research be conducted.
Although provincial officials and scientists ran a series of test last Wednesday, no new information has been found so far.
Trieu did warn that if the cracks weren't watched around the clock, they could become much worse after it rains.--VNS