No tremors should be taken for granted, DG warns

Abuja on map
Abuja on map

Danladi Matawal, director-general, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, has warned the nation not to take any tremors for granted.

Mr Matawal in a statement he signed on Monday said there was need to investigate immediately the reason for recent tremors in Federal Capital Territory.

There was earth tremors around Mpape and parts of Maitama district of Abuja last Thursday.

Mr Matawal advised the nation to design a set of actions to mitigate the tremors effect if it was man-made or artificial, whether from deep explosives or mining.

“Are we constructing a tunnel in Abuja? Then the explosive waves must be attenuated and dumped at the source of the explosion,” he said.

“City residents also need to be warned and trained on responses to such an impending disturbance.

“If natural, then we should prepare for evacuation because major earth tectonic activities are always preceded by pre shocks and minor tremors due to the straining and splitting of pieces of plates near the epicentre.

“Volcanoes and Earthquakes are calamities and Nigeria is not prepared for that and we must believe that with the calm already established, we can still claim our extinct innocence,’’ he said.

He said no scientist could disprove that the entire Nigeria was not “extinct” of earthquake, as there were no records of recent volcano or earthquake in recorded history in the country.

The director general however, maintained that all it took to translate from “extinct’’ to “active’’ was one major seismic activity.

“It is expected that by now, a set of experts and non-experts should be brainstorming somewhere in FCT over the matter.

“Experts and non-experts from Ministry of Defence, Mines and Solid Minerals, Police, Science & Tech, Transport, NASDRA, NEMA, Fire Service, COREN, Geological Society among others.

“On Sunday, we had account of someone who lives in Mpape who said dogs, in particular, barked relentlessly. While we prayed fervently that this is not a natural phenomenon because of the extinct nature of our geomorphology.

“Nonetheless the first warning of seismic activity in active regions of the world is animal behaviour.

“Dogs will bark wildly, cats will run frantically, rats will run frenzy in the house; horses will break their enclosures, etc.

“This is because their extra sensory senses from whiskers makes them sense activity in the earth’s crust when bits and pieces of the crust are fracturing along a prospective fault line instigated at fracturing epicenter.’’

Mr Matawal said the same happened in a major rock burst as it was principally the same process of release of huge strain energies.

According to him, people should watch out for signs and the solution of tremor if it is of high risk (Rickter Scale of 2.5 and above) is to run to open parks and fields with family and pets.

“All seismic activities are accompanied by four waves. I already mentioned the P-waves which are the most destructive because they crumble the earth’s surface and any structure on it. They cause compression of the ground surface.

“The second is the S-waves which are shear waves. If you see a fault on the ground surface, they are caused by these shear waves.

“The others are Raleigh and Love waves which cause no damage but temporary dumbness in human beings because they compress the air pretty much like slapping in the ear.

“The major cause of death is buildings and infrastructure created by mankind. Imagine if a Dam breaks due to Seismic activity as well as falling buildings and bridges, City Fires, among others,’’ he said.

The director general said he joined the team rushed to Lapai in Niger State over the report of an earthquake in the area in 2011 or 2012.

He said the team found a huge, truly massive rock outcrop bursting and cracking, a weathering phenomenon.

Mr Matawal noted that the huge strain energy released by the cracking mass of rock actually shook the area for some days as it released Primary (compressive) and Secondary (Shear) seismic waves that frightened everyone.


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