Deep in the heart of Kanchanaburi, the western province of Thailand, rests the thrillingly seismic Three Pagodas Fault. This geological wonder endures a bombardment of earthquakes every year, numbering into the hundreds. Yet, as per geology maestro Prinya Putthapiban hailing from Mahidol University’s distinguished Department of Geoscience, the majority of these temblors are largely innocuous and hardly noticeable.
The fault line mirrors the layout of Myanmar’s Sagaing Fault and Thailand’s southern Ranong Fault, running alongside them in a parallel fashion. This intriguing alignment restricts the severity of earthquakes that emanate from the Three Pagodas Fault. As Prinya has elucidated, it’s unusual for tremors equivalent to those razing regions of southern China, northern Myanmar, or Nepal to originate here.
Prinya’s comments were made in the wake of a fairly invisible earthquake in Kanchanaburi. The quake marked its genesis near the off-the-beaten-track Nong Lu community in the lush Sangkhla Buri District, having its epicentre about six kilometres beneath the Earth’s crust. The Three Pagodas Fault spans an impressive distance of approximately 60 kilometres across the verdant Thong Pha Phum and Sangkhla Buri districts.
On a fascinating note, these districts are in proximity to Thailand’s most prodigious dam, the Srinagarind dam, set majestically within the bounds of the Kanchanaburi province. Putting minds at rest, Prinya reassured that the recent seismic activity, a 4.0 earthquake clocked on the morning of November 19, posed no risk to the integrity of the Vajiralongkorn and Srinagarind dams.
Interestingly, Prinya pointed out that the earthquakes that rumble along the expansive Three Pagodas Fault are typically so feeble that they pass by unnoticed. As for the powerful quakes notching up 8 to 9 on the Richter scale? Seismic specialists believe they are more likely to originate from the ridge separating the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. This formidable ridge is nestled approximately 500 kilometres away from Thailand, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
Of the fault lines within a potentially damaging radius, the Sagaing Fault in Myanmar is closest, and hence, the most threatening. But, echoing a sigh of relief, Prinya stated that the brunt of the earthquakes triggered by this fault are usually felt on its west side, sparing Thailand, stationed on its eastern end, the wrath of its fury.
In a related seismic news, Myanmar experienced a significant tremor of 6.4 magnitude on the morning of November 17, as noted by the Earthquake Observation Division of the Thai Meteorological Department. The epicentre was reported to be approximately 100 kilometres northwest of the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai. Find out more intriguing details about this story HERE.