The Department of Mineral Resources has predicted that Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai may face a magnitude 5 earthquake within in the next 10 years. Their predictions come after a 4.1 earthquake shook seven districts of the two provinces on Friday night.
The forecast is based on analysis of movements in the Mae Tha fault lines. Including the 5.1 earthquake on December 13th 2006. The epicentre of the earthquake was under the Mae Rim district of Chiang Mai.
Geological studies of earth strata at Ban Pong Samakkhi, in Doi Saket district of Chiang Mai, indicate that the area experienced a 5.9 earthquake about 2,000 years ago.
Scientists are particularly concerned about the Mae Chan fault line, which has the potential to produce a magnitude 5-7 earthquake in the near future. It is about 100 kilometers long and passes through Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces.
The tremor on Friday night occurred at 9.46 pm. Its epicentre located about six kilometers below the surface of Doi Saked district. The department said that it was caused by a right-lateral strike-slip in the Mae Tha fault line.
The tremor was felt by people in Muang, Prao, San Sai, Doi Saket and Hang Dong districts of Chiang Mai and Wiang Papao district of Chiang Rai. There were no reports of casualties or damage to property.
In September a mild 3.4-magnitude earthquake occurred in Chiang Rai’s Phan district. The epicentre was in Doi Luang National Park. The quake was felt by residents of Phan and nearby districts.
A 6.3-magnitude quake also occurred in Chiang Rai on May 5, 2014. Causing over 100 million baht in damages to Phan, Mae Lao and Mae Suai district.
In Augusts the Department of Mineral Resources discovered an active seismic fault in Chiang Mai Province. It was located in Wiang Haeng district of Chiang Mai, and named the Wiang Haeng fault line.
Wiang Haeng is the 16th fault line identified in Thailand. It is also projected to produce a series of earthquakes of a maximum 6.7 magnitude within the next 50 years, after being dormant for more than 2,000 years.
Other areas under close watch are the Sri Sawat and Three Pagoda fault lines. They also pass through the western region and are also close to the country’s largest artificial water catchment, the Sringarind dam in Kanchanaburi province.