Scientists believe that the bombing of Iraq may speed up geotectonic processes
Oleg Martynov, a professor at Tula University, has predicted an earthquake in Central Asia that might lead to disastrous consequences in the Volga region of the Russian Federation. Martynov said that seismic activity had increased a significantly on the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea. The peak of this activity is to occur during the period of October-December. However, the bombing of Iraq is capable of speeding up processes in the earth's crust, he believes, and the scientist says that an earthquake may occur this year in summer and that a quake might shake the Volga region.
Martynov asserts that the last earthquake, which took place in 2000, caused damage to the Saratov hydroelectric power station when a crack appeared in there. "Waves might cause the station's dam to tumble down in July-August of the current year. Tons of water will flow down the river," the scientist says.
In his earthquake calculations, Martynov uses mathematical methods of modeling gravitational fields. The scientist has reportedly predicted earthquakes in the Caucasus, Crimea and Central Europe. He also forecast a tremendous tremor in the Russian town of Neftegorsk (on May 27,1995, a total of 1,995 persons were found dead there under the rubble), although his warning was ignored at the time.
What do Saratov officials think about Martynov's forecast? It was said at the Saratov division of the Russian EMERCOM that they did not have any information about cracks or any other kind of damage that had been caused to the Saratov hydroelectric power station. Officials said that they remembered the earthquake, but that it had showed no affect on the state of waterside structures. Anatoly Gilev, the station's chief engineer, said that "If someone doubts, let them come talk about with us. When the station was built, our region was not considered a seismically active area. Now, it is believed that earthquakes with a magnitude of up to seven might happen in the Volga region. According to its architectural plan, the Saratov station is capable of withstanding a quake with a magnitude of up to five.
"We have made inquiries to the company that designed the station, the Moscow HydroProject Institute, and we finalized a contract with the institute to examine the hydroelectric power station. The institute is supposed to prepare certain recommendations on how to provide the station with greater seismic stability," he added.
Viktor Ogajanov, the chairman of the laboratory for regional and engineering geophysics, has another point of view regarding the situation. "We have been observing the seismic situation on the territory of the region since 1999 on a regular basis," he said. "Two earthquakes were registered in 2000 — on Nov. 25 and Dec. 6. The magnitude of those quakes was six in certain areas, which caused cracks on several buildings in Saratov. I do not have any information regarding damage to the Saratov hydroelectric power station, although there are a lot of rumors about it. In my opinion, if it had happened, the information about it would have been classified at once. As far as I know, there is no seismic control conducted at the station. It goes without saying that a break in the dam would be a tremendous disaster for the region."
Andrey Kulikov Saratovsky Arbat
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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