Thailand’s Dams Should Be Safe

Most of Thailand’s big dams are located near or straddle geological fault lines, where earthquakes like the one that hit Burma and shook Mae Sai, Chiang rai and Chiang Mai on Thursday 24 March may happen.
 Last year, the House committee on state security summoned in June geologist Adichart Surinkham of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to provide information over growing concern that the active fault under the Sri Nagarindra Dam might finally bring it down.
 However, Adichart Surinkham told the committee that only minor earthquakes had taken place since the dam was constructed with little or no dammage to the dam. In fact the small earthquakes were good because they would reduce the risk of severe quakes, he had explained according to The Nation’s report from the meeting.
 Of all 13 faults in Thailand, Adichart said the most dangerous one was in Chiang Rai.
 “No one can say exactly when an earthquake will erupt, but the fault there can instigate an earthquake with magnitude of up to 5 or 6 on the Richter scale,” he had added, in effect prediting the earthquake on Thursday evening 24 March 2011.
 In conclusion, Adichart Surinkham had told the committee, that although most dams in Thailand straddled fault lines, they should be able to withstand seismic vibration.

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