China on the lookout for earthquakes during Beijing Olympics
On Saturday, July 19th, China’s Earthquake Networks Center stated it predicts no strong earthquakes during the time of the Olympic Games. However, most earthquakes are nearly impossible to predict with the kind of equipment currently available to the world’s seismic forecast agencies. Earthquake Networks Center officials admit that they can only predict certain types of earthquakes, and that they did not detect any signs of the destructive Sichuan earthquake coming on May 12th.
The monitoring network in the area around Beijing is the most extensive in the country. It can detect an earthquake as light as magnitude-1.0 and report it within five to 10 minutes, said Zhang Xiaodong, deputy director of the China Earthquake Networks Center, at a press conference here.
In an area of 150,000 square kilometers between 38.5 and 41 north latitude as well as between 113 and 120 east longitude, there are 107 earthquake monitoring stations, the highest density network in China, Zhang said.
So far the country has set up more than 1,200 quake monitoring stations and 15,000 monitoring sites.
In its eastern part and all provincial capital cities, earthquakes as light as magnitude-1.5 can be detected and reported within 10 to 15 minutes and in the rest part of the country quakes as light as magnitude-3.5 can be detected and reported within 20 to 25 minutes.
Chinese authorities reassure that should a mighty earthquake strike during the Olympics, Beijing will be ready. There have been enough refuges built in the city to hold up to 3 million people. The special rescue teams will be on standby in case of an emergency during the time of the Olympics. The Olympic Bird Nest Stadium is also said to be able to withstand an earthquake of a magnitude similar to that which hit Sichuan province in May.