Sabahans told to brace for eventualities of tremors

OLIVIA MIWIL



KOTA KINABALU: The people of Sabah have to be prepared for any eventualities following regular occurrences of tremors in the state this year.

On Jan 10, the Malaysian Meteorological Department recorded a magnitude 7.3 earthquake 466 kilometres northeast to Semporna where the tremors were felt in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Labuan.

Two weak quakes measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale was detected in Ranau and another 4.2 quake hit Kunak last Sunday.

On Wednesday, another 3.4 quake struck Kunak again.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) geologist Dr Felix Tongkul said there had been records of small earthquakes occurring almost every month in Ranau and Lahad Datu.

He added that frequent occurrence could mean the releasing of seismic energy thus reducing the chance for massive earthquake.

“However, those tremors could also signal the possibility of larger earthquake.

“If a massive quake was to happen, the scale would be around 6 on the Richter scale,” he added.

Felix added that the last “big one” that occurred in Lahad Datu was of a 6.2 magnitude on the Richter scale that happened in 1976.

Another one which registered 6 on the Richter scale occurred in Ranau on June 5, 2015 killing 18 people who were on Mount Kinabalu.