Major quake out of question : Geologist

A MAJOR earthquake in Singapore is out of the question.

A geologist from the National University of Singapore said that the Republic lay outside the major earthquake zones which made it very unlikely that one would take place here.

The main earthquake zone is in the circum-Pacific belt which includes Japan, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Andes Mountains and the western part of Central America. Another zone lay in the trans-Asiatic belt, extending from Mediterranean Europe eastwards through Asia to the Pacific.

But no place in the world could be said to be 100 per cent free of earthquakes, the NUS geologist noted.

“However, the probability of a major earthquake taking place in Singapore is very low looking at our history.” He said if there were major earthquakes in neighbouring countries like Indonesia, some of its effects might be felt in Singapore. But these may only be minor.

“It is unlikely that a HDB flat will collapse or a major highway will collapse. We may get things falling off the shelf and some weak buildings developing cracks.”

Building structures, nevertheless, had to be designed and built to be able to sustain even minor tremors.

An academic, who teaches structural engineering at the Nanyang Technological University, said that the construction of flyovers or any other building structure had to make allowances for ground movement.

“As long as the necessary movements have been allowed for, the system is fail-safe,” he said.

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