National quake watch body mooted

AL AIN — An international conference on seismicity has recommended the setting up of a National Earthquake Monitoring Network in the UAE in view of its proximity to the Zagros earthquake belt in southern Iran along Arabian peninsular and Asian tectonic plate boundaries.

By Lana Mahdi

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Published: Thu 24 Feb 2005, 9:24 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:35 PM

The Gulf Seismicity Forum (GSF), organised by the UAE University (UAEU), also suggested measures to improve the emergency response of the country to earthquakes and the implementation of engineering codes to improve quake resistance of constructions in the country, said Dr Fares Howari of the Geology Department of the UAE University.

The conference that concluded yesterday also suggested that scientists and engineers should work together to focus on local seismological studies and research programmes for evaluation and prediction, Dr Howari told Khaleej Times.

Experts debated the concerns on wether the scientists and engineers were rightly estimating the potential earthquake hazards in the country.

Despite the debate, there was agreement on the need for a countrywide network and for improving the understanding the country’s geological or tectonic setting.

Dr Howari said that the UAEU Seismic Gulf Forum discussed ways of further improving the flow of information between various regional research institutions to strengthen research. The GSF was successful in promoting collaboration in the sharing of seismic data, the setting up of seismic networks and in better communication among seismic laboratories of the region.

“The efforts of the university to develop geohazard maps and promote geo-environmental investigation have been presented. At present, the geology department of the UAEU is working together with local civil defence authorities and US agencies on earthquake monitoring programmes,” said Dr Howari.

The department will further continue its research along the local fault zones in the vicinity of Dibba and between Bidyah and Jebel Salhal and those across Wadi Ham to further understand the seismic and tectonic setting of the UAE.

“Also, research on prediction technology should be pursued in collaboration with regional and international institutions,” he added.

Earthquakes are caused by sudden movements in the rock mass of the earth generating waves that travel along the earth’s surface and through the deeper parts of the crust. Commonly, such seismic events results from slip on faults.

“The frequent earthquakes and associated damage in Iran, raised and continue to raise earthquake or seismic concern in the UAE and AGCC countries,” he said.

The conference attracted international seismology experts from the US, UK, Iran and Japan and regional geoscientists who presented some 36 research papers.

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