Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Will earthquake rattles Malay Peninsula?

This the question playing in the mind of lot of Malaysians, after witnessing the devastating jolt in Sichuan Province, China.

Western, Central and Eastern “Belts” of Peninsular Malaysia and distribution of suture zone rocks (oceanic ribbon-bedded cherts, argillites, mélange, serpentinites) and ribbon-bedded cherts, argillites and turbidites of the Semanggol Formation. Radiolarian localities and ages are also shown (after Metcalfe et al., 1999). Inset map shows the distribution of principal continental terranes and sutures of East and Southeast Asia. WB=West Burma, SWB=South West Borneo, S=Semitau Terrane, HT=Hainan Island terranes, L=Lhasa Terrane, QI=Qiangtang Terrane, QS=Qamdo-Simao Terrane, SI=Simao Terrane, SG=Songpan Ganzi accretionary complex, KL=Kunlun Terrane, QD=Qaidam Terrane, AL=Ala Shan Terrane (after Metcalfe, 1998). [Taken from Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, Volume 18, Issue 6, December 2000, Pages 691-712]

We used to be taught in school and sometimes in the media that Malaysia is free from earthquake. Is this true? The answer is yes and no. Yes, traditionally Malaysia had never be the victim of earthquake, but this does not mean that we will not have one in the future. After all, earthquake is, as the saying goes, act of god.

The fact that Malay Peninsula very existence was due to the tectonics action between two continent sub-plate, the Sibumasa terrane and the Indochina terrane make earthquake something that we cannot take it lightly. Bukit Tinggi, a small town of Pahang, situated near the Pahang-Selangor border and accessible by Karak Highway had been reporting many instances of minor quake and tremors lately. Following are the more recent news of Bukit Tinggi quakes.

21 gegaran di Bukit Tinggi cetus tanda tanya

KUALA LUMPUR 25 Mei – Kejadian gempa bumi kecil yang telah menggegarkan kawasan Bukit Tinggi, Pahang sebanyak 21 kali sejak November tahun lalu menimbulkan tanda tanya terutama di kalangan penduduk yang tinggal di kawasan sekitarnya.

Bukit Tinggi terletak dalam zon sesar bumi

KUALA LUMPUR 26 Mei – Kawasan Bukit Tinggi di Pahang yang terletak dalam zon sesar di mana lapisan bumi bergeser antara satu sama lain menjadi punca kejadian gempa kecil kerap berlaku di kawasan itu termasuk pagi semalam.

Pensyarah Jabatan Geologi, Universiti Malaya (UM), Prof. Madya Datuk Dr. Mohamad Ali Hasan berkata, lokasi itu menyebabkan Bukit Tinggi mudah menerima kesan daripada gempa bumi di negara jiran.

“Walaupun kawasan Bukit Tinggi terletak jauh dari China dan Indonesia, tetapi ia masih boleh menerima gegaran kuat di daratan berbanding kawasan lain di Malaysia.

“Ia juga boleh dikaitkan dengan tekanan persekitaran yang kuat di Asia Pasifik,” katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia hari ini.

One who is familiar to the geology of Malay Peninsula knows that, Bukit Tinggi is located at the famous Raub-Bentong suture, a fault zone. (refer to the map above) This region had been fairly stable as far as history can go, but we have to reckon that we are now experiencing extremely frequent seismic activities across the whole Asia, the magnitude 9 earthquake of Sumatra that triggered the South Asia Tsunami on Boxing Day of 2004 and the recent magnitude 8 of Sichuan may add much uncertainties to the stability of the Raub-Bentong suture.

I strongly urge that local geology experts should intensify their efforts to monitor the various fault zones in Malay Peninsula and establishing some form of early warning system to minimize damages to our population and economic, in the event of The Big One occur in Malay Peninsula.

For more information on Raub-Bentong suture, I managed tho find this journal article.

The Bentong–Raub Suture Zone by I. Metcalfe

Journal of Asian Earth Sciences
Volume 18, Issue 6, December 2000, Pages 691-712

Here I excerpted its abstract,
"It is proposed that the Bentong–Raub Suture Zone represents a segment of the main Devonian to Middle Triassic Palaeo-Tethys ocean, and forms the boundary between the Gondwana-derived Sibumasu and Indochina terranes. Palaeo-Tethyan oceanic ribbon-bedded cherts preserved in the suture zone range in age from Middle Devonian to Middle Permian, and mélange includes chert and limestone clasts that range in age from Lower Carboniferous to Lower Permian. This indicates that the Palaeo-Tethys opened in the Devonian, when Indochina and other Chinese blocks separated from Gondwana, and closed in the Late Triassic (Peninsular Malaysia segment). The suture zone is the result of northwards subduction of the Palaeo-Tethys ocean beneath Indochina in the Late Palaeozoic and the Triassic collision of the Sibumasu terrane with, and the underthrusting of, Indochina....."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dr. M quits UMNO

It was reported on some news portal and prominent blogsites that Tun Dr. Mahathir has announced that he is quitting UMNO. What is the real motives behind this move? Some speculate that it may be a self defence mode, or could it be another master-stroke of Mahathir to route Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi? Let's shall see! Anyway, this is really a very surprising move, indeed!

Here are some links to the related story, on Rocky's Bru and on The Scribe. This news also appeared on news portal of MalaysiaKini and The Star.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Whether is he sincere or not?

It is ever sickening to read in newspaper on various delays of Penang's important development projects. I can't help but wonder, Chief Minister Lim is truthfully sincere in bringing betterment for the Penangites. Instead of try to implement those project skillfully, he seem, to me, more enthuastic in creating causes for delay.

As in today Star, he seem to be indulge in delaying the Penang's Monorail project, firstly he want the monorail to be scrapped and replaced by a underground rail system, which eventually get rebuffed for excessive cost concern, now he is proposing to overhaul the monorail's network to cover Seberang Prai area, citing mainland resident should enjoy the spill over effect of the state development.

“It will not be fair for the people on the mainland if they don’t get the spillover effects of the development implemented in the state. They too should enjoy the monorail project. We want to ensure everyone benefited from this, not just the islanders,” he is reported to be said.

But do he realised that, by bringing the monorail's project back to drawing board, it is as good as scrapping it because, later on, the cost of project will escalated to a point the Federal government will not be able to fund it anymore.
Could it be that certain parties are not happy with the members of monorail consortium?

In the same newspaper report, he is having a different tone, as compare to the time of election campaign, on the issue of of job opportunities.

“Workers who were retrenched were being absorbed into other factories that required skilled workers,” he said. “It is not right to say the manufacturing sector is facing a hard time based on a few retrenchment cases.”

“The fact that many jobs were being advertised in the newspapers reflected that the economic situation was good,” he said.

Why are he and blogger Jeff restlessly attacking Koh Tsu Koon on the same issue during the GE12 campaign, and yet now he is sound so BN-rish?