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Small shocks do not release tension before devastating earthquakes

27 march 2013, 17:26

Small but frequent seismic shocks do not preclude the possibility of a strong and devastating earthquake, Director of the Seismology Institute in Kazakhstan Tanatkan Abakanov told Tengrinews.kz.

The scientist said that the version that weak shocks decrease tension of the Earth's crust and lower the risk of a catastrophic earthquake was made up by laymen. However, Abakanov noted that this issue was not studied well enough and one may not say that micro-shocks precede a catastrophe either.

"In case the number of small quakes increases, we need to perform a detailed analysis of the general situation by its geophysical and hydrodynamic parameters, find out their causes and make a statement only after the analysis is made," Kazakhstan's senior seismologist said.

Abakanov said that 8,589 quakes, including 19 sensible ones were registered in Kazakhstan in 2012. Most of the earthquakes were transit ones and their epicenters were outside Kazakhstan. As for 2013, the scientist noted that the probability of devastating earthquakes at the territory of Kazakhstan was negligible. However, the risk of shocks of up to 6 in magnitude remains significant.

The scientist added than not all the buildings in Kazakhstan, and in Almaty in particular, had been checked for seismic resistance. Abakanov told that all the buildings built before 1960 could be considered dangerous. Almost all the buildings erected in the period from 1960 to 1993 (the time when all buildings had to pass a strict state control) had a guaranteed seismic resistance.

Earlier Abakanov said that Almaty oblast is expected to be hit by earthquakes of up to VII in intensity in 2013. Besides, he added that smaller earthquakes of magnitude below 4 or 5 and intensity of IV to VI in the epicenter are possible near Taldykorgan and Zharkent station, south-east of Almaty and south-west of Kokpek village.

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