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Sat, Oct 30, 1999 - Page 3 News List

Science council finishes map of fault line

SEISMIC CARTOGRAPHY Builders should be pleased with the new map of the Chelungpu fault line, but debate remains over whether more detail is needed


"Instead of relying solely on fault maps, builders should make comprehensive site inspections before they break ground on any structure," said Tsai Yi-ben (蔡義本), professor and dean of the College of Earth Sciences at National Central University.

According to one British scientist who worked in Taiwan after the quake, fault maps are an essential guide for builders.

"If detailed maps are not available at construction sites, engineers will have to deal more with local conditions," said Colin Taylor, a civil engineering professor from Bristol University.

He said that the fault maps are needed either for scientists to identify the sources and mechanism of major earthquakes or for engineers to use during construction.

Although the UK is relatively small, its geology has been studied for more than 150 years.

"The governmental British Geological Survey has produced quite detailed geological maps of the UK in various scales. The most detailed one is 1:1,000," Taylor said.

Another engineer, Dave Edge from the UK-based WS Atkins Group, an engineering consulting firm, stressed the need for accurate maps: "One cannot be sure that the law [prohibiting the building of houses closer than 15 meters from a fault line] is successful unless one knows actually where the fault lines are."

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