262nd Meeting – Tuesday 17th May 2005


Geohazards of Northern Thailand: How dangerous are they? 

A talk and presentation by Dr. Sampan Singharajwarapan 

Present: Lamar & Chongchit Robert, Jacque Op de Laak, Ken Kampe, Jan Schauseil, Hans & Nengnoi Penth, Alex Brodard, Reinhard Hohler, Horst Schneider, Anna Scholten, Alex van Olst, Thomas Ohlson, Annelie Hendriks, David Steane, Naomi Wilmot, Dr. P. Barber-Riley, Ms. J. Pembroke, Supattra Suttilagsana, Ben Marwick, John Cadet, Peter Kouwenberg, Hans Bänziger. An audience of 23.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sampan Singharajwarapan is from the Department of Geological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University.

Dr. Sampan writes: Northern Thailand has a number of active faults that are capable of generating some big earthquakes that may cause major damage to neighbouring cities or nearby engineering structures. It is well known that major cities like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are proximal to active faults, including the Mae Tha and Mae Chan faults. From time to time, people in these two cities have felt that their houses or the buildings they occupied were shaken by earth tremors. Although, up to now, these earthquakes have not caused any major damage nobody is really certain that the big one is not possible. Investigation is being carried out by a team of geologists and geophysicists from Chiang Mai University to assess the seismic risk level of the North. Preliminary results suggest that the risk is relatively high.

Apart from earthquake hazards, other geohazards, including landslides and flash floods, are of particular concern in some areas of northern Thailand. A project to set up an early warning system is jointly being conducted by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Chiang Mai University. This project involves building up a network of local people who live in landslide-prone areas. Examples are drawn from some villages in Chiang Mai and Tak provinces.