Underwater tremors rock the Nicobar Islands


PHUKET: Local disaster officials are closely monitoring a series of undersea earthquakes that struck 550 kilometers northwest of Phuket hours earlier today (July 4).

Three underwater earthquakes struck the Nicobar Islands hours earlier today (July 4). Images: PhuketSOS

The Phuket Information Center, operated by the Phuket Office of the Ministry of Interior, reported the series of underwater earthquakes this afternoon, noting reports from the non-governmental Earthquake Monitoring and Surveillance Center Phuket earthquakes, also known as “Phuket SOS” (see here).

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake struck at a depth of 10km off the coast of the Nicobar Islands, about 540km northwest of Phuket, at 12.35pm, the group reported.

Another earthquake, with a magnitude of 4.9, also struck at a depth of 10 km off the coast of the Nicobar Islands, about 550 km northwest of Phuket, at 3:02 p.m.

Shortly after, at 3:36 p.m., a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 97km off the coast of the Nicobar Islands, this one about 520km from Phuket, the group added.

The National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) has yet to issue a statement on the undersea shaking. It should be noted that the NDWC generally reserves any public comment on offshore earthquakes to those of much larger magnitude.

The reporting of the underwater earthquakes by the Phuket Information Center comes as the two tsunami warning buoys in the care of the NDWC are offline.

Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) announced last month that it had launched an operation to recover one of the tsunami warning buoys, Station 23461, located about 340 km northwest of Phuket after it stopped transmitting data.

The buoy is the second of two tsunami warning buoys operated by the DDPM which no longer function.

The other buoy that the DDPM operates as part of a multinational tsunami warning network set up in the Indian Ocean has been recovered, state news agency NBT reported, citing DDPM officials. .

The buoy stopped transmitting data in October last year, the DDPM had previously reported. However, the agency decided to wait until the scheduled mission to replace or repair the buoy was dispatched every two years before taking steps to recover it.

“The DDPM has stated that both buoys will be replaced with new ones, with installation to take place in November under more favorable weather conditions,” the NBT report said.

The DDPM in its report assured that Thailand was still protected by a tsunami warning system as the two buoys were only part of the Indian Ocean tsunami warning network.

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