Earthquakes Current Affairs - 2020

Myanmar-China sign 33 deals of BRI: Increases China’s ease of access of Indian Ocean

On January 18, 2020, China and Myanmar signed 33 new deals under BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) to implement China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. Also, a concession agreement was signed by he countries to implement the deep seaport project called Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone.

Highlights

The agreements were signed to strengthen the collaboration in infrastructure sector that includes rail connectivity, roads and power interconnection projects. However, the controversial Myitsone dam project that is backed by China was not discussed.

India’s Concerns

The project allows China to have easy of access to Indian Ocean. This is because this route bypasses Strait of Malacca through which China imports most of its oil requirements. Strait of Malacca connects Andaman Sea and South China Sea. This route is on the international boundary and is far from India’s territories as compared to the Myanmar route. With China of Ease of access to Indian Ocean, India has to strengthen its Navy to safeguard its interests in the region. Also, Indian Navy is already witnessing increased Chinese presence in the IOR.

This will aid in China’s plans of String of Pearls.

Myitsone Dam

The project was proposed across Irawaddy river. It was suspended and the Chinese tried to revive it at an estimated cost of 3.6 billion USD. The project is controversial as it is located at a 60-mile distance from the Sagaing fault line.

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New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger earthquakes in future: study

According to scientists, a new plate boundary may be forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in Wharton Basin as a result of the 2012 earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region.

The discovery was based on the study of seismic data recorded before, during and after the 2012 quakes and sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard a research vessel.

Key Facts
  • Scientists created a high-resolution imagery of the sea floor by using data which unveiled deformations that had occurred on the tsunamilgIndo-Australian Plate.
  • It showed that the plate had broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone due to 2012 earthquakes, resulting in a new plate boundary and likely to be the site of future fault-slip earthquakes.
  • The analysis showed a new fault system had developed in the area off the coast of Sumatra that was involved in the 2012 earthquakes. The new fault system can trigger more quakes in the future.
  • Slip-strike earthquake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. As a result, earthquake causes deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.
  • These earthquakes can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.
  • This similar scenario is believed to happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean which was the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

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