130 fault lines found in major Chinese cities

"The project, which was initiated by the government in 2004, had ascertained the location of the faults in the 21 cities," Xu Xiwei, deputy director of the Institute of Geology at the China Earthquake Administration was quoted as saying by state-run daily Global Times.

"Of the 130 fault lines, 80 were deemed inactive," he said.The USD 76 million project, which concluded in April 2008, was aimed at evaluating potential earthquake risks in densely populated cities in order to help institute safety measures.

Some 26 faults in the pilot cities were found to have active fault lines.Gao Shu, dean of the School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences at Nanjing University, told the Global Times that it is impossible for earthquakes to occur in an area of inactive faults.
"Basically, we can be sure that the 80 inactive faults are safe. But the active faults could possibly cause an earthquake," Gao said.

"The scientists made a map of faults in the pilot cities and evaluated the risk of an earthquake in each place, as a reference for the authorities in city planning and construction," Xu said.

Some of the pilot cities have accordingly taken measures to prevent possible damage, he added.

The local government of Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, has planted trees and grass along the fault lines and stipulated that houses cannot be built within 200 meters of the faults.

Concerned about the scarce land resources, Gao said it is inevitable that houses will be built close to some fault lines and also asked the authorities to improve the quality of construction, such as using better anti-earthquake materials.

"For example, the Golden Gate Bridge in California is made of steel, so an earthquake could only distort the bridge but not cause it to collapse," Gao said.

Given that China sits on the junctions of several tectonic plates, including the Pacific, the Eurasian and the Indian Ocean plates, there are at least 495 faults around the country, Xu said.

Thousands of peoples were killed in major earthquakes in Sichuan in 2008, Qinghai in 2010. Twenty five people were killed and several hundred injured in quake in Yunna near Myanmar border on March 10 this year.

Meanwhile, China has been researching several types of earthquake rescue robots, which included air-search robots, transformable robots to search the rubble.

The robots would be used to carry out earthquake-rescue missions, including searching for survivors, transporting food and water and deploying anti-bacterial sprays, among numerous other functions, said the report.

The robots can take aerial pictures of earthquake zones, and can be used in areas affected by gas or other poisonous leaks when locating survivors, alleviating some of the hazards faced by human rescue teams, the daily reported

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