The Phuket Info Center, operated by the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior, reported the series of submarine earthquakes this afternoon, noting reports by the non-government Phuket Earthquake Monitoring and Surveillance Center, which also goes by the name ‘Phuket SOS’ (see here).
A 4.6-magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 10km off the coast of the Nicobar Islands, about 540km northwest of Phuket, at 12:35pm, the group reported.
Another earthquake, with a magnitude of 4.9, also struck at a depth of 10km off the coast of the Nicobar Islands, about 550km northwest of Phuket, at 3:02pm.
Soon after, at 3:36pm, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 97km off the coast of the Nicobar Islands, this one about 520km from Phuket, the group added.
The National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) has yet to make statements on the underwater tremors. Of note, the NDWC usually reserves any public comment about offshore earthquakes for those of much greater magnitude.
The reporting of the underwater earthquakes by the Phuket Info Center comes while both tsunami-warning buoys under the care of the NDWC are offline.
Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) announced last month that it had launched an operation to recover one of the tsunami-warning buoys, Station 23461, located some 340km northwest of Phuket after it stopped transmitting data.
The buoy is the second of two tsunami-warning buoys operated by the DDPM that is no longer functioning.
The other buoy that the DDPM operates as part of a multinational tsunami-warning array set up in the Indian Ocean has been recovered, reported state news agency NBT, citing DDPM officials.
The buoy stopped transmitting data in October last year, the DDPM had previously reported. However the agency decided to wait until the scheduled mission to replace or repair the buoy every two years was dispatched to take any action in recovering it.
“The DDPM said both buoys will be replaced with newer ones, with installation to take place in November amid more favorable weather conditions,” the NBT report said.
The DDPM in its report assured that Thailand was still protected by a tsunami-warning system as the two buoys were only part of the Indian Ocean tsunami-alert network.