The earthquake that hit Almaty oblast on May 1 is off-standard, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports citing Alkuat Nurmagambetov, seismologist, doctor of geological and mineralogical sciences.
“The first and the main 5.4-magnitude shock should not have had so many sensible aftershocks. Usually the shaking of such magnitude causes small aftershocks that die out quickly. I have been working in seismology for 45 years and this is the first time a phenomenon like that takes place in our region,” said Nurmagambetov.
Nurmagambetov thinks that the location of the quake’s epicenter is also off-standard. The quake was registered in the Almaty depression on the line of the large Kapshagai-Shelek fault.
The seismologist stressed that strong earthquakes have never been registered in that area and geologically aren’t supposed to take place there. That is why it is now unclear how the fault will behave in future.
The expert has also criticized the position of official seismologists. “The main objective of the official seismologists is to provide objective information straight away! Lack of official information causes rumors. The seismologists should have honestly admitted that they were not ready to make any statements and they would go study the epicenter first,” he said.
The overall number of sensible shocks on May 1-2 made 10, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center. Epicenters of two of these shocks were below Kapshagai artificial lake. Their magnitude was 4.9 and 4.7. Another two epicenters were near the lake (4.0 and 4.2 in magnitude). The strongest 5.4-magnitude quake hit on May 1 at 08:31 a.m. and had several aftershocks. All the other quakes of the series were weaker, but still clearly sensible.
In the following two days the 10-quakes series was followed by three more 2-3-magnitude earthquakes with epicenters is the same area.