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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKES FELT IN ARMENIA
Answers from “THAT THE TRIAL WILL NOT BECOME A TROUBLE” book of Emergency Channel
Does an earthquake repeat? Are frequent earthquakes good or bad?
– Earthquakes tend to repeat. Mild concussions repeat frequently. Minor earthquakes sometimes contribute to energy depletion.
Is there a frequency of strong earthquakes in the RA?
– No. We can speak about the frequency of strong earthquakes in seismically active large regions. For small territories, like Armenia, this question is not correct.
Is it possible to predict a strong earthquake?
– The problem has not been solved yet. Scientific and applied works are carried out in this direction in the best seismological centers of the world, including the Seismic Protection Service of the RA Ministry of Emergency Situations. MES pays much attention to the modernization and re-equipment of the National Seismic Multi-Parameter Observations. There are several successful predictions; however, there are even more unjustified predictions. It can be said that the short-term prediction of earthquakes is not yet reliable. However, a short-term prediction based on the obvious signs is not ruled out.
What earthquake of maximum force can occur in the territory of the RA?
– According to professional estimates, the maximum magnitude of a possible earthquake in the RA can reach up to 7.5 or 10 points on the Richter scale. Earthquakes of this magnitude are rare and can only occur in some regionally active fault zones.
Do the representatives of the animal world feel the impending earthquake?
– Some representatives of the animal world feel the impending earthquake, especially cats, fish, dogs, rats, snakes, etc. However, this must be massive to be considered a sign of an earthquake.
Considering today’s situation, is the seismic risk of the territory of Armenia correctly assessed?
– After the 1988 Spitak earthquake, some maps of the seismic hazard of the RA territory were made, with which the level of the seismic hazard in almost the entire territory of the republic increased by up to an average of 1, and in some places by 2-3 points. Today the lowest level of danger is estimated at 8 points and the highest at 9-10 points. In our opinion, such estimation is much closer to the real danger.
What causes earthquakes in the territory of the RA?
– According to the well-known scheme of the tectonics of the Earth’s plates, the Caucasus, including the territory of the RA, is located in the collision zone of the Arabian and Eurasian plates. Hence, the Arabian plate moves to the north-northeast at a speed of up to 2 cm per year, and the Eurasian plate is considered still. As a result, the Caucasus “squeezes” the accumulation of tectonic stresses that occurs in the earth’s crust, which eventually leads to sudden displacements of blocks or earthquakes. As the mentioned plate movements last millions of years; therefore, there will be earthquakes on the territory of our republic in the future as well.
How long will the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant withstand a strong earthquake?
– The Nuclear Power Plant belongs to a number of special purpose objects. It is under the control of both local and foreign specialists. It is one of the current earthquake-resistant structures of the RA and is designed for an earthquake of magnitude 9.
Was the Spitak Earthquake a natural earthquake or not?
– The Spitak earthquake was natural. Geological earthquakes have shown that there have been earthquakes in the past as well. During the earthquake, 1016 joules of energy were released, which is equivalent to the energy released by the simultaneous explosion of a hundred atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima. The hypocenter of the earthquake was located at a depth of 10-12 km. Mankind has only reached such a depth through drilling at one point, in the Kola Peninsula, after more than ten years of drilling. The Spitak earthquake is a well-studied classic earthquake with foreshocks, mainshocks, and aftershocks.
In case of a strong earthquake, what destruction can happen in Yerevan or any of its districts?
– RA buildings built before the 1990s don’t correspond to the seismic risk level of the area (they were designed with a low-risk assessment, the quality of construction was low, a large part of the buildings exceeded their service time, etc.); therefore, they are vulnerable. The Spitak Earthquake showed that the multistorey buildings built with large-panel and frame connection systems (designed by Badalyan) proved to be quite reliable and earthquake-resistant, while the frame-panel (111 series) and raised-floor buildings, on the contrary, are highly vulnerable.
Can multistorey buildings be built in Yerevan?
– Multistorey buildings can be built in Yerevan and the RA, if the geological features, sufficient ground conditions, and all the norms of earthquake-resistant construction are taken into the account
To what extent are RA settlements protected from the negative consequences of a strong earthquake?
– In order to reduce the negative consequences of a strong earthquake, the RA government developed a strategy in 1991; and in 1999 approved two complex seismic risk reduction programs for the territory of the Republic of Armenia and Yerevan. In 2002, the RA Law “On Seismic Protection,” the first in the CIS countries, was adopted. In 2010, the concept of ensuring seismic safety in Armenia was adopted, and, in the same year, a list of measures to ensure the fulfillment of its provisions. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Armenia, with the participation of other departments, state administration, and local self-government bodies, carries out seismic risk reduction activities in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
What are the main reasons for the large-scale destruction of buildings from strong earthquakes in the RA?
– The buildings and structures built before 1989 are seismically more vulnerable for several reasons. First, they were designed and built with a low level of seismic risk; then, the quality of the construction was low, the requirements of earthquake-resistant construction norms were not very strict, a certain number of buildings expired, and, finally, mistakes were made during the construction of buildings. This has resulted in reduced seismic resistance of buildings and structures. The seismic resistance of buildings built after 1989 is much higher.
How can the earthquake resistance of newly constructed residential buildings be ensured?
– First, it is necessary to study the engineering-geological and seismic conditions of the construction site of the building, based on which the building is designed based on the existing norms of earthquake-resistant construction. The building project must undergo a professional examination. The construction contractor and quality control should have the appropriate licenses. Any deviation from the approved project must be prohibited. While using the building all the developed rules should be followed, etc. In this case, the earthquake resistance of the building will be high
What is the main direction of ensuring the seismic safety of the country?
– To solve the problem, it is necessary to perform the following steps: reliably assess the seismic risk of the territory, asses the seismic vulnerability of the buildings and structures and the seismic risk of areas, and finally, perform the planned activities to reduce seismic risk. The last problem – risk reduction, is a complex, time-consuming, and expensive process.
Should we return home after a strong earthquake?
– After a strong earthquake, if you are outside or have left the apartment you do not need to return to the house immediately. It is necessary to go to an open area and wait for the official announcement.
What should be done during the shocks, and what is the safest place in the apartment?
– When earthquake shocks occur, and you are on the 1-3rd floors, you should quickly leave the building. If you are on higher floors, you should stand in the corners of the main load-bearing walls and the doorways, near the load-bearing columns, away from the external walls and windows.