So geologists suspect that the tectonic plate on which Sri Lanka sits is beginning to split; not sure what they mean by that but if part of the plate is breaking up and a new constructive plate boundary is beginning to form then it could make life interesting.
Constructive plate boundaries, if that is what this is, aren’t the same as the collision zone, which led to the Nepal earthquake; and I don’t think we are looking at a major new subduction zone either.
But you usually get transform faults when mid ocean ridges form alongside volcanic activity which is why it is fair to say that these could trigger medium level earthquakes.
So the recent article in The Sunday Times is worth taking seriously. The point the geologists make is that the highland areas are vulnerable already to landslides so even moderate earthquake activity will only add to the risk.
Great to see that the universities are already researching this; that risk maps and building codes are being considered; maybe tsunami risk and vulnerability also needs looking at.
However, I just found an article in the journal of Natural Science Foundation Sri Lanka 2005 by CB Dissanayake (2005 just after the last Tsunami) who writes about this possible new plate boundary and suggests that “bearing in mind…that the new plate boundary is only 400-500km from its southern shores Sri Lanka perhaps needs to be classified as a moderate earthquake prone area”
Why did this never come out at the time?
No-one was prepared for the 2004 Tsunami which I guess was understandable but forewarned is forearmed so wouldn’t it be good if government agencies could be pro-active and not re-active this time around?
Now that things are more stable maybe it is time for the government to become involved in a positive way by putting their weight behind the ongoing academic research and by taking recent findings seriously. Nothing stalls the development process faster than a major disaster.
The main photo is courtesy of Vikalpa; Groundviews
The second image is reproduced from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Plate