Tsunamis, earthquakes may have impact on Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) estimates that if a 9.2 Richter earthquake occurs at the Manila Trench, it may cause a 10.6 meter tsunami in Quang Ngai province and a 5 meter tsunami in Nha Trang City.


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The devastating tsunami that occurred in Indonesia has raised concern that Vietnam would be affected. The research conducted at the Geophysics Institute found that earthquakes in the East Sea and neighboring areas may cause tsunamis and affect the coast of Vietnam.

According to Le Huy Minh and Nguyen Hong Phuong from the Earthquake Reporting and Tsunami Warning Center, with its geographical position, Vietnamese is less vulnerable to earthquakes than other regional countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

However, in Vietnamese territory and territorial waters, complex fault systems such as Lai Chau - Dien Bien, Song Ma, Son La and Red River exist. Earthquakes sometimes occur.

If a 9.2 Richter earthquake occurs at the Manila Trench, it may cause a 10.6 meter tsunami in Quang Ngai province and a 5 meter tsunami in Nha Trang City.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, in the northern part of the country, two big earthquakes (measured at 6.7-6.8 on Richter scale), tens of 5.1-5.5 earthquakes, and hundreds of weaker ones have been recognized.

One of the earthquakes occurred on the Song Ma fault in 1935, measured at 6.75 on Richter scale.

More recently, a 5.3 earthquake with epicenter in Laos in 2001, 20 kilometers away from Vietnam’s Dien Bien City, destroyed 2,000 houses in the city.

Many weaker earthquakes (less than 5.5) have occurred since 2007, including a 5.1 one in Vung Tau-Phan Thiet offshore on November 28, 2007 and another in Do Luong, Nghe An province on January 3, 2008.

The small earthquakes that occurred after the earthquake in Dien Bien did not cause human deaths or property damage, but they showed that the Earth's crust in Vietnam is not fully stable and that it is necessary to carry out further research on seismic activities.

To date, there has been no convincing proof to conclude that tsunamis have affected the coastal areas of Vietnam. 

However, research has found that earthquakes in the East Sea and neighboring areas, including Riukiu (Taiwan), Manila Trench, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, the north of East Sea and Palawan, may cause tsunamis and affect Vietnam. Of these areas, the biggest threat is from the Manila Trench.

Under MONRE designed scenarios, if an 8.3 Richter earthquake occurs at the Manila Trench, it may cause a 5.2 meter tsunami in Quang Ngai and a 2.1 meter tsunami in Nha Trang City.

And if a 9.2 Richter earthquake occurs at the Manila Trench, it may cause a 10.6 meter tsunami in Quang Ngai province and a 5 meter tsunami in Nha Trang City. It takes tsunamis two hours to move from the Manila Trench to Vietnam’s coastal areas.


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Thanh Lich

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