Vietnam is still at risk of strong quakes and its coastal areas might be threatened by tsunamis that could have origins from nine areas in the East Sea in the future, a senior expert told Tuoi Tre yesterday.
An area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan Photo: AP
Vietnam has suffered two strongest earthquakes in northern Dien Bien City in 1935 and another in the city’s Tuan Giao town in 1893, said Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Phuong, deputy director of the Vietnam Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Center under the Global Physics Institute.
The seismic intensity of the two quakes, which broke out in forests and fields, measured 6.75 and 6.8 on the Richter scale respectively.
In the South, the most intense quake, of 6.1 degrees, occurred on the continental shelf in Southeastern region in 1923.
If these quakes had occurred in crowded urban areas or industrial parks, they would have caused great damage in terms of life and properties, Dr. Phuong said.
As early as in 1970s, Vietnamese scientists create earthquake maps showing different regions with different seismic intensity rates based on the 12-level Medvedev-Sponheuer-Karnik (MSK-64) scale.
Accordingly, the northwestern region is the most prone to quakes with a seismic intensity level of 8 and 9, while Hanoi, Central Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh City are referred to levels 8, 7, and 5-6 respectively.
In addition, Hanoi lies on a section of the Hong (Red) River fault that runs from China through northern Vietnam to the East Sea. Therefore, this area is considered vulnerable to earthquakes.
Meanwhile, although no tsunami has been documented in Vietnam so far, scientists have recently identified nine areas in the East Sea that might cause tsunamis to swamp the country’s east coastal areas in the future, he warned.
However, Vietnam is totally able to provide early warnings against tsunamis in the future, if the country is equipped with advanced detection equipments, he said.
Early this month, the central Da Nang City People’s Committee has identified locations for the country’s first 10 tsunami early warning stations, which will be installed by the military-run telecom firm Viettel and are expected to operate in July.