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Mild tremor at Idukki in Kerala

Special Correspondent

THODUPUZHA (KERALA): The Idukki hydroelectric project area in Kerala experienced a mild tremor on Saturday morning. Of 2.9 magnitude, it was felt at Moolamattom, Uppukunnu and nearby areas after 6 a.m. Idukki Collector Ashok Kumar Singh said no damage had been reported from anywhere in the district. Many people living in the area did not feel it. Some heard a rumbling noise.

The Research Centre of the Kerala State Electricity Board in the project area said the epicentre was at Vellakkanam. The weather bureau in Thiruvananthapuram characterised the earthquake as one of light intensity.

The Idukki Collector told The Hindu that he was seeking scientific opinion on the possible impact of the tremor on the dams in the area.

Tremors generating certain frequencies could be dangerous. Several occurred near Konni, not far from the Mullaperiyar dam, on November 2. The magnitude of the main tremor was 2. A landslip had also occurred in the area recently.

Idukki Correspondent reports: The Collector visited the arch-dam for an assessment.

While the recent copious rain has added to the storage of the large hydel reservoir, the two tremors within a span of four days has not created much anxiety in the State's largest district, five times as big as Alappuzha, which is the smallest.

The tremors have come within days of the landslip that killed three people within 5 km from the Kulamavu dam near Idukki. The hilly district that borders Tamil Nadu has a population of 14.8 lakh.

The epicentre of the latest tremor, around Vellakkanam near the Kannampadi stream, was 9.9 km from the Kulamavu reservoir and 32 km from Vallakadavu near the Mullaperiyar dam. Data from the KSEB's recorders showed that the tremor occurred 5.6 km below the earth's surface.

The epicentre is 5 km from Moolamattom, where giant turbine systems rumble on within a huge tunnel underground.

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