17 April, 2009

Email hoax on earthquake, tsunami in Asia on July 22

Channel NewsAsia - Thursday, April 16

SINGAPORE: An email is going around warning about an impending earthquake and tsunami hitting parts of Asia, including Singapore. It claims that disaster will strike on July 22, the same day as a solar eclipse.

The email says that apart from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, the giant wave may also hit countries as far as Japan, Australia and India.

But the credibility of the email is questionable. For one, it is riddled with spelling errors, and two, it does not cite any credible source.

While it is true that a solar eclipse will occur on July 22, experts said there is no connection between an eclipse and an earthquake.

Professor Kerry Sieh, director, Earth Observatory of Singapore, said: "In the last 110 years or so, there have been about 85 really big earthquakes — 8 (on the Richter magnitude scale) or greater. And only two of those occurred on the same day as an eclipse. And even those were a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse. They happened in a different place from where the eclipse happened."

While the professor does not think the email holds water, he warns that research does show that parts of Asia facing the Pacific Ocean could be hit by a tsunami. He said the impact on Singapore will be minimal, but not so for cities further up north.

"It turns out that by the time the wave produced by the underwater disturbance got to Singapore, it would be only about a metre high. But in Macau and Hong Kong, it would about 10 to 15 metres high," said Professor Sieh.

He said more work needs to be done to determine if the fault lines along the Pacific Ocean floor will break in such a way that could see a repeat of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

On July 22, those in Singapore can see a partial eclipse, beginning at about 8.40am till about 9.40am.


From Yahoo! News. Original article here.