A fierce earthquake from the Nicobar Islands could strike over Songkran, sending a tsunami crashing into the Andaman Coast, an expert warned yesterday after finding that the 8.6magnitude Sumatran tremor three days ago was exceptionally deep.
“Whenever there is a quake rooted in the mantle, a following quake will be likely in the next few days,” said Professor Thanawat Jaruphongsakul, a senior seismologist at Chulalongkorn University.
Fear of another devastating tsunami panicked Thailand and Southeast Asia on Wednesday.
An underwater quake, with its epicentre at the Nicobar Islands, about 150 kilometres north of Aceh on Sumatra, would affect six coastal provinces of Thailand on the Andaman Sea, especially Ranong, which lies closest to a fault line connecting with the Nicobar Islands, he said.
The quakes on Wednesday originated from mantlelevel crust, 20 kilometres below the Earth’s surface, which is regarded as a layer that would cause very high magnitude tremblers.
The quake that hit Japan in March came from a shallower layer, so it would take up to 100150 years for the next quake. However Wednesday’s quakes, with their epicentre at Aceh, followed just eight years after the massive one that triggered a continentwide tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in many countries, he said.