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Central Vietnam trembles as twin earthquakes rock hydropower dam area

By Dac Thanh   July 28, 2018 | 03:06 am PT
Central Vietnam trembles as twin earthquakes rock hydropower dam area
The Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant in Nam Tra My District, Quang Nam Province. The dam is suspected of having caused a series of minor earthquakes in recent years. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Two earthquakes occurred in the area of the notorious Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant in Quang Nam Province on Saturday morning.

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake occurred at 0.19 a.m. in Bac Tra My District with its epicenter at a depth of 11 kilometers, according to a statement from the Earthquake Information and Tsunami Warning Center at the Institute of Geophysics.

Three minutes later, another earthquake reaching 3.0 on the Richter scale hit the district, with its epicenter at a depth of 10 kilometers. 

Local authorities have reported no human casualties or property damage, thus far.  

Local residents said the quakes sounded like explosions and that they were worried about the increasing frequency with which these were occurring in the area.

Two days ago, four other earthquakes jolted Nam Tra My and Bac Tra My districts near the hydropower dam within the space of an hour.  

Nguyen Hong Phuong, deputy director of the center, said the epicenters of most earthquakes are around 10 to 12 kilometers (seven miles) from the hydropower plant.

Nam Tra My and Bac Tra My are the two districts most vulnerable to earthquakes, which usually occur in July and August every year, Phuong said.

Over the past few years, the central province has experienced several earthquakes and seismologists believe the hydropower dam is to blame for many minor earthquakes that shake houses and terrify villagers. 

According to scientists, the extra water pressure has created fissures in the ground under the reservoir. When the pressure of the water increases, it acts to lubricate faults which are already under tectonic strain, but are prevented from slipping by the friction of the rock surfaces.

Seismologists have said that Vietnam’s geographic location near fault lines put it at risk of moderate earthquakes, and that the country should take due precautions.

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