New quake zone close to Lanka
An earthquake active zone off the southern coast of Sri Lanka has been brought to the notice of the President's office by the Geological Mines and Survey Bureau (GSMB).

The GSMB has been studying the area in the Indian Ocean region, 400-500 kilometers south of Sri Lanka, for the past five years and claims it is the reason for the occurrence of some tremors in the country. India and Russia too are doing research in the area but the work is still limited to gathering data.

"The continental crust is getting active. There is a clustering of earthquake locations in that basin," GSMB director Sarath Weerawarnakula said. However, all tremors recorded in the area have been less than 5.0 on the Richter scale and 20/30 kilometers in depth.

Meanwhile, authorities are scrambling to put an early warning system in place and also get Sri Lanka connected to an international tsunami alert system. President Chandrika Kumaratunga herself has taken an initiative and will propose the setting up of an early warning system for the South Asian region.

Sri Lanka has not signed up as a member of an interantional tsunami monitoring system, as the country was not considered vulnerable to tsunamis until last Sunday. But now steps are being taken to sign up to this system, which was established in 1965 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

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