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Danger of earthquake in Baku depends on outbreaks in Caspian Sea

24 October 2017 [17:15] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Aygul Salmanova

Characterized by high seismic activity and situated in the active collision zone of Arabian plate with Eurasian, the territory of Azerbaijan has complicated block structures differing from each other by the level of seismic activity.

Indeed, the Alpine-Himalayan seismic belt passing through Azerbaijan makes the whole country vulnerable to dangerous seismogenic activities.

A rapid population growth, water and land instabilities, the lack of public awareness and an intensive industrial and civil construction may partly be responsible for the possibility of the capital city being vulnerable to earthquakes.

In a workshop on seismology held in October 23, Academician Akif Alizade, president of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), mentioned that seismic activity and seismic zones have been fully examined in Azerbaijan.

Alizade added that seismological studies have been intensively carried out in Azerbaijan over the last 50-60 years.

"Geophysics has a long history of development in Azerbaijan,” he said. “Geophysics began to develop after 1950s."

“The study of the seismicity of the Caspian Sea is one of the main tasks of seismologists,” he claimed, adding that bottom seismographs were acquired for that purpose.

Gurban Yetirmishli, Republican Center of Seismological Service (RTSS) of the ANAS earlier told journalists that there are many seismic reservoirs that have possible potential since the Caspian Sea is rich in oil and gas reserves.

“The danger of the earthquake in Absheron and Baku depends on the foci that exist in the Caspian Sea,” he said.

Yetirmishli noted that three years ago the devices for installing seismometers at the bottom of the Caspian Sea were acquired. 

“However, they have not been established. Recently, the heads of the Emergency Situations Ministry and ANAS appealed to the leadership of SOCAR for help in this matter. Although the seismometers were purchased three years ago, but still lie in the warehouse of the RCSS,” complained the director of the center.

Additionally, he stressed that more accurate investigation of the seismicity of the bottom of the Caspian Sea will be possible with the help of these devices. "They will also help minimize the risks on the platforms and communication lines in the Caspian Sea. Their installation will bring great benefits from a scientific point of view," Yetirmishli said.

Yetirmishli further commented on the reports of a possible magnitude 8-9 earthquake in Baku, noting that no earthquake of this magnitude is expected in Baku.

“The information provided by an employee of the Republican Seismic Survey Center on seismological situation in Baku was misunderstood,” Yetirmishli explained.

“The RSSC employee didn’t say a magnitude 8-9 earthquake is expected in Baku,” he said. “This can happen once in 50, 100 and 500 years. Therefore, one shouldn’t spread panic among the population.”

Currently, Azerbaijani scientists are working on a new project on assessment of a seismic risk in Baku city. Prior to this, German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) agreed to give relevant support to Azerbaijan regarding this issue, Yetirmishli said as he visited the German Research Center in Potsdam, Germany on September 19-23, 2016.

“For several years, we are conducting negotiations with them. This year we signed a memorandum. We have brought to the fore issues such as seismic micro zoning of Baku, determination of seismic risk zones in the capital and assessment of risk zones,” he said.


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