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Offshore monitoring for quakes

THE nation's first offshore earthquake-monitoring station has been set up on an oil rig in the East China Sea to help experts evaluate the impact offshore earthquakes could have on China's east coast and predict tsunamis.

The Shanghai Seismological Bureau said yesterday that the earthquake station, on the Bajiaoting drilling platform in the Pinghu Oil and Gas Field, passed expert evaluation last month. This means its data is now being used as part of China's earthquake monitoring system.

The bureau is now able to receive information from monitors 780 meters under the sea, 365 kilometers southeast of Shanghai.

"The monitoring station is located between China's mainland, Japan and north Taiwan," said Zhou Huagen, director of the Bajiaoting project. This is an area with a high risk of earthquakes. "Previously, we could only detect quakes with a magnitude of five or more in this region. But the new station means we can detect smaller quakes with magnitudes between one and three."

Information from the station can be transferred to Shanghai and the state earthquake-monitoring network in four seconds.


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