Frequent tremors cause sleepless nights in Idukki

This area which houses some of the biggest dams in Kerala has had 22 tremors till date, this year. While there are no major casualties, many a building in the area sport cracks. The quake on Friday caused minor damage to the the Mullapperiyar dam, the bone of contention between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Scientists from the state government-controlled Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), who arrived on Friday, said though there was no reason to panic, the area would most likely experience minor quakes in the coming days. Johm Mathai, a senior scientist at the CESS, the area is a category three quake prone zone, which means that it could experience tremors with an intensity of up to 6 on the Richter Scale. He added that the need of the hour was to build quake proof buildings as he noticed that the houses, which were not built to resist quakes, had begun to develop cracks. The booming sound that accompanies the quake is not dangerous.

Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) chief engineer (dam safety) K K Karappankutty told Deccan Herald that there was no need to panic. He said KSEB officials and scientists would examine the dams in the area to determine if they have developed any serious cracks.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has directed Revenue Minister Tiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan to visit the area on Sunday along with senior scientists and submit a report to the government immediately.  Meanwhile, a  mild tremor measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale occurred in the Lakshwadeep sea on Saturday afternoon. The epicentre of the tremor was about 340 km South South West off Colombo and it occurred 10 km below the seabed, Director of the Centre of Earth Science Studies, Dr M G Kurien said.
The present indications was that there was no possibility of the tremor triggering tsunami waves, he told reporters.

According to S C Shenoi of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), the tremor occurred at 4.61 degrees North Latitude and 79.43 degree East Longitude. Ruling out the possibility of the tremor triggering tsunami waves, he told a Malayalam TV channel that in normal cases, only sea tremors of intensity of 6.5 are capable of unleashing tsunami waves.

CESS scientists said the intensity of tremor on the seismograph installed at Peechi in central Kerala was recorded at 4.7 on the Richter scale.

Though scientists discounted the chances of the tremor unleashing tidal waves, picnikers at Sanghamugham beach in Thiruvananthapuram left the seashore as soon the news of the tremor spread.

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