Geology Dept. head warned of calamity
Peradeniya University’s Geology Department head Prof. Kapila
Dahanayake blamed local authorities for not being able to pick up
vital information about the impending disaster.
said that several international agencies had been trying to contact
Colombo to warn against the impending disaster, but due to the holidays
they had not been able to get through. Prof. Dahanayaka himself,
a week before the disaster warned that we would have to be alert
about the recent earth tremors reported.
warning came after the country experienced a few tremors in Yakkala,
Gampaha and Warakapola recently. He had expressed concern even though
Sri Lanka was believed to be in a "safe territory" in
could sometimes mean nothing. The tremors could eventually die off
or on the other hand they could probably increase," Prof. Dahanayake
was quoted as saying in the state-run Daily News.
is wise to be prepared for the worst", he was quoted saying
on December 21. He said, however that Sunday's experience was unexpected
as the last such tidal wave had been reported about 2000 years back.
occurrence of it was unprecedented and even India knew nothing about
it before the incident as only countries around the Pacific would
expect tidal waves of such ferocity", and added that the country
now needs to know about such incidents in advance.
Dahanayake said a proposal that SAARC countries needed to have a
warning system was good and currently only Indonesia, Thailand and
Malaysia had such warning systems resulting in Thailand and Malaysia
recording a lower scale of damage from the disaster.
said it was high time that Sri Lanka thought of an advance warning
system and that however geologists had said the frequency of tremors
have increased to about one in every two years in the recent past
with the latest being recorded on Sunday.
Daily News report on December 21 said that Sri Lankan geological
experts believe that Sunday's tremor could have originated from
a place 300 kilometres off the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka in
the Indian Ocean.
Survey and Mines Bureau (GCMB) Director Sarath Weerawarnakula said
there was a hi-activity centre (epi-centre) located within this
area that had been monitored for the past 100 years by geologists.
of the tremors felt by Sri Lanka originate there," he said.
The GSMB is expecting the report from the Californian Seismic Centre
shortly. "They need readings from three locations to calculate
the exact site where the tremor originated", said Mr. Weerawarnakula.