Local February 1, 2012 | 7:53 am

Strong quake would topple many buildings, expert warns

Santo Domingo.- Santo Domingo State University (UASD) Seismology Institute director Eugenio Polanco yesterday warned of the “fragility” in Dominican Republic’s constructions, for which many would collapse in a strong earthquake.

“The constructions in this country are very complex as far as quality, many old and are built by the same people; they neither respond to Public Works supervision on anti-quake norms, or we have a new seismic code and the old one didn’t ponder constructions higher than four floors,” the expert said.

Polanco also warned that since “we live in a country with a high seismic potential” and can produce great intensity quakes like in 1946, of magnitude 8.1, the country should be aware that it’s located in a zone where two plates interact, reason enough to say that a major quake can occur. “We cannot say it will happen today or tomorrow, but there should be preparations.”

But it’s encouraging, the seismologist said, that the country’s latest tremors wouldn’t be necessarily a warning that it could happen in the future.

“The quakes occur in a source that releases energy and produces the tremor. We can issue an earthquake warning when it’s related to a source, but we’ve seen that the latest tremors which have occurred because of the release of energy have been in different sources, so we could say that those sources have released energy which they’ve had stored and perhaps they have entered a process of calm,” the expert said during conference in the Catholic University of Santo Domingo.

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