sharing the Olympic spirit
OLYMPICS/ Olympic Nation

Tremor-free Olympics expected

China Daily
Updated: 2008-07-21 07:56


The national seismic monitoring network has not detected any sign a strong earthquake would hit Beijing during the Olympics next month, a senior expert with the China Earthquake Networks Center said in the capital on Saturday.

The 107 quake-monitoring stations of the network cover a 150,000-sq-km area around the capital and are said to be the most extensive such network in the country. It can detect a temblor as light as magnitude 1.0 and report it within five to 10 minutes, Zhang Xiaodong, deputy director of the networks center, said at a press conference.

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"Our experts are working round the clock to monitor the geophysical changes and analyze the data we collect," he said.

The China Earthquake Administration (CEA) also began working with the Beijing city government and the organizers of the Beijing Olympic Games to develop contingency plans to deal with earthquakes of different magnitude three years ago, CEA deputy director Yin Chaomin said.

The plans include quake reporting, magnitude monitoring and information dissemination, Yin said.

"We even built several new monitoring stations near Beijing and six Olympic co-host cities."

Officials also rehearsed quake drills for the Games, while cities have built emergency shelters to ready for possible disasters, Yin added.

Beijing has built 31 such shelters, which can hold a total of 3 million people, he said.

Quake rescue teams of the CEA and Beijing authorities are also on standby, he said.

"The Olympic stadiums and many buildings in Beijing are able to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 8.0. There will not be any big problems."

The country has set up more than 1,200 quake-monitoring stations and 15,000 monitoring sites, officials have said.

In its eastern region and provincial capital cities, earthquakes as light as magnitude 1.5 can be detected and reported within 10 to 15 minutes.

However, Yin admitted the quake-monitoring system cannot provide for all conditions.

"We did not detect signs of abnormality before the 8.0-magnitude quake struck Sichuan province on May 12. We are deeply sorry for not being able to forecast it."


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