No Tremors In Gulf Region: Scientist

RIYADH, 10 October 2005 — A Saudi scientist said yesterday that the Gulf region would not experience any tremors but warned of possible aftershocks in South Asia, which may cause further destruction.

Dr. Khaled S. Al-Damegh of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), said: “Aftershocks generally follow earthquakes and sometimes they are more devastating and can continue for several weeks.”

Dr. Al-Damegh said that Saudi Arabia’s measurement of the quake in Pakistan and India had been verified by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which recorded up to 7.6 on the Richter scale.

Asked about the Kingdom’s ability to deal with such natural catastrophes, Dr. Al-Damegh, who is an assistant professor at KACST’s Astronomy and Geophysics Research Institute, said: “Saudi government agencies including Saudi Geological Survey, KACST and King Saud University have set up more than 85 quake monitoring stations to record seismic activities.” These stations function as part of the Saudi Arabian National Digital Seismographic Network (SANDSN) which is one of the best networks of digital seismic stations. Plans have been made to expand it.

Speaking about the quake-prone areas of the Arabian Peninsula, which include Saudi Arabia, the scientist said: “Historical records of quakes show that the peninsula is safer than many similar geographical zones. We have seen quakes in the Kingdom in the past, but most of them were weak.”

The last quake, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale in northern Saudi Arabia was recorded in June 2004. Tremors are normal in the northern areas of the Kingdom because of its proximity to the Gulf of Aqaba which is on a well-known fault. In 1995, the northern part of the Kingdom experienced an earthquake which caused some destruction. Saudi Arabia records about four earthquakes every year with seismic intensity ranging from low to moderate levels.

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