Earthquake risk high in Panama: Study

November 19th, 2010 - 5:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Nov 19 (ANI): A new research has found that the Limon and Pedro Miguel faults in Central Panama have ruptured both independently and in unison over the past 1400 years, indicating a significant seismic risk for Panama City and the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal is undergoing expansion to allow for greater traffic of larger ships, scheduled for completion by 2014.

As part of a seismic hazard characterization for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) expansion project, Rockwell, et al., studied the geologic and geomorphic expression of the Pedro Miguel, Limon, and related faults.

The Republic of Panama sits atop two colliding tectonic plates — Central and South America — and is internally deforming at a significant rate.

The Pedro Miguel, Limon and related faults comprise a zone that extends from the southern flank of the Sierra Maestra in north central Panama southward for at least 40 kmcrossing the Panama Canal between the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, and extending southward offshore into the Gulf of Panama.

Paleoseismic work by Rockwell, et al., demonstrates that both the Limon and Pedro Miguel faults are seismically active, having a relatively short recurrence rate for large earthquakes, with displacements in the range of 1.5 to 3 meters.

The finding has been published by the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. (ANI)

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