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Saturday, November 5, 2016

UMS geologist says tsunami in Kudat low possiblity

KOTA KINABALU - Kudat folks have been advised to remain calm. The possibility of the coastal district being slammed by a devastating tsunami is “quite low” said Universiti Malaysia Sabah geologist Prof Dr Felix Tongkul.

He explained that only massive underwater earthquakes measuring over 7 on the Richter scale could generate a threatening tsunami.

“The occurrence of big earthquakes is quite rare. Even if they do occur along the Manila Trench and generate tsunami, Kudat is located quite far away from the tsunami source.

“By the time tsunami waves reached Kudat, it would have decreased in energy and would be quite small, around one to two metres high only,” he said when contacted, adding the people should not be worried.

“For a worst case scenario, say, an earthquake of magnitude 9.3 occurs in the Manila Trench and generates a tsunami. This will produce around three to four metres high tsunami waves along the west coast of Sabah. “Again, earthquake of this magnitude is extremely rare,” Tongkul stressed.

It was reported residents living in Kudat’s coastal areas have gone into panic mode following claims that a possible 50m high tsunami would hit the district. T

he statement was made by Malaysian Meteorological Department deputy director general (operation) Dr Mohd Rosadi Che Abas in a recent television interview.

“This (50m high tsunami) is just an output of a computer simulation based on assumption that a huge underwater landslide can occur offshore Sabah.

“This gigantic underwater landslide can displace a huge amount of water that produces the 50m tsunami. However, like I explained earlier, this is unlikely to happen,” Tongkul emphasised.

Earlier during a tsunami drill in Putatan near here, Sabah meteorological department director Azemi Daud did not rule out possibility of a tsunami striking the state’s coastal areas in the event of a massive underwater earthquake or catastrophic seabed erosion.

He noted that an underwater earthquake in the Philippines or a massive collapse of the seabed cliff off Brunei can be factors creating a recipe for disaster.

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