Myanmar

Annual Report 2017 - Research

Home to more than 50 million people, Myanmar is shaped like a giant kite with a long tail that sweeps down along the Andaman Sea.

Beneath the surface, invisible dangers affect Myanmar’s growing population, making it one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. In the north, mountain ranges mark the northeast limit of the Indian tectonic plate, which has been colliding with the southern edge of the Eurasian plate for tens of millions of years. It is this interaction that has helped push up the Himalayan Mountains and the Tibetan Plateau in the far north of the country.

To the east, the Shan Plateau rises high above the central Myanmar basin. Ribbed with mountain ranges and broken hills, it hides a 700-kilometre-wide system of active faults, creating hazards we know little about.

Extending north to south, the 1,500-kilometre-long Sagaing Fault splits Myanmar in half, running below the economic centre of Mandalay, through the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw, alongside the thriving metropolis of Bago, and to the west of the country’s largest city, Yangon. When set into motion, strike-slip faults like this one tear the earth apart when slabs of crust slide sideways against each other.

Today's Quake in Myanmar is a Reminder of How Active the Sagaing Fault is

Very early in the morning on Friday, 12 January 2018, Myanmar was struck by a magnitude-6.0 earthquake. Residents in the two capital cities, Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, were able to feel the quake that had originated 40 kilometres west of the Sagaing Fault in Central Myanmar.

In the video below, Dr Wang Yu, a Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, suggests that today’s earthquake is a reminder of how active the Sagaing Fault actually is. 

New Seismic Network Sheds Light on Myanmar’s Tectonic Activity

Scientists have long known that Myammar is tectonically vulnerable. But only recently, says Dr Paramesh Banerjee, have they been able to understand the full extent of the country’s seismic activity. This new insight is made possible by the new Myanmar Seismic Network, established earlier this year.

Folklore and Farmers: The Role of Non-Scientists in Active Fault Research in Myanmar and Thailand

“We scientists usually think we know everything,” said Dr Wang Yu, a Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), “but when we go into the field, we start to realise that actually farmers have most of the important knowledge about the land, and that we are just visitors with lots to learn.”

A View from the Trenches: The 2017 Earthquake Geology Training and Field Camp in Myanmar and Thailand

"One of the things that first made me interested in geology was hearing about the number of places that geologists travel to for work." Tim Dawson, a Senior Engineering Geologist at California Geological Survey, reflects on the perks of being a geologist, and describes his most recent adventure in the trenches in northern Myanmar and Thailand during an earthquake geology training course.

Covered in Golden Dust: Learning to Survey Active Faults in Myanmar

In February 2017, scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) led an earthquake geology training camp in Myanmar and Thailand. The course was designed to allow scientists to share their knowledge about active fault trenching and paleoseismology with geology students who may not have had prior field experience.

 

We propose to install 30 broadband seismometers to cover the seismic gap on the Sagaing fault and the neighbouring region, which is one of the most populated areas in Myanmar. The seismic data will be used to better understand the seismotectonic setting in the region. The proposed works include waveform modelling for earthquake focal mechanism and crustal and slab velocity structure, and determining micro-seismicity location, locking depth and the slip rate on the fault. These will be key for seismic hazard estimation and preparedness in Myanmar.

Observing a fault in a layered outcrop, Myanmar.

The Mingun Pagoda near Mandalay in central Myanmar. The foundation of this unfinished Pagoda is heavily damaged by the 1839 Ava earthquake.

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