Quake Stations To Monitor Bombing Aftershocks

RIYADH, 20 March 2003 — More than 40 digital earthquake monitoring stations located around the Kingdom will measure the movements and aftershocks of bombs and missiles which will strike Iraq. Dr. Abdullah N. Al-Rajhi, director of tectonic studies at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), said that the earthquake monitoring stations in the Kingdom under the Saudi Arabian National Digital Seismographic Network (SANDSN) project are capable of differentiating between artificially-produced earth movements and the natural ones of earthquakes.

Referring to the SANDSN project, Dr. Al-Rajhi said that stations with early warning systems had been set up to monitor regional seismic activities. A network of seven stations in the Makkah area ensures the safety of pilgrims. Dr. Al-Rajhi said: “Investigations into the seismicity of the Arabian peninsula have emphasized the need for a local seismic network to monitor earthquakes in this region.” This led KACST to launch the project. The last earthquake reported in the Kingdom was in 1995 which caused some destruction in the area around Tabuk.

Dr. Al-Rajhi said that the SANDSN project enables local scientists to advise the government about high-risk earthquake zones. Using the information, the government will not allow any construction in quake-prone areas.

The director pointed out that while Saudi Arabia is rarely affected by earthquakes, such cities as Tabuk, Abha, Khamis Mushait and Baha are located in zones of possible risk.

Referring to new research, Dr. Al-Rajhi said that the KACST plans to start a project under which the Kingdom will be divided into zones in terms of seismicity.

The project will be useful for civil engineers, designers and town planners who will ensure that the Kingdom’s plan for urban development is compatible with the project’s recommendations.

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