Colombo needs earthquake monitoring equipment - Geology Prof. Atula Senaratna | Sunday Observer
Fracture zones between Sri Lanka and India

Colombo needs earthquake monitoring equipment - Geology Prof. Atula Senaratna

9 April, 2023


There are possibilities for earthquakes in the Western coast, and Colombo and the surrounding areas, Geology Prof. Atula Senaratna told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

“When one looks at the surrounding areas of the sea bottom of the Western coast, there are very long fractures of earth running between Sri Lanka and India. They most probably spread along the line that separated Sri Lanka and India some 250 million years ago,” Prof. Senaratna said.

He said, “Recently, we looked into this matter and noticed similarities between the fracture zones in the area between India and Sri Lanka and those found in earthquake-prone areas in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As Sri Lanka is moving further away from India, it is important to keep track of these events with on-shore and off-shore earthquake monitoring equipment.”  

He said he had identified underground fractures with unusual characteristics running from Colombo to the interior of the country. “Unlike the plate margins between Trincomalee and Ambalantota, the Western coast is not well understood,” he said. He said that minor tremors that occur in the Western coast go unnoticed, but it is important to understand their causes and how they originate. “You may not see it today, but in 20 years it could happen. That is why it is important to gather data now,” he said.

“Installing earthquake monitoring equipment is not going to be hard, because there are so many countries, such as Japan, US, Australia and UK, that are willing to undertake this task,” he said.

The installation of earthquake monitoring equipment could help prevent or mitigate the damage caused by future earthquakes, Prof. Senaratna added.