'Minor quakes good for Sabah': Geologist

KOTA KINABALU - A series of at least 13 tremors have shaken parts of Sabah since January - and a geo­logist says the development is actually good for the state.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) geologist Dr Felix Tongkul said the small temblors with a magnitude of less than 4 helped release the stress built up at active fault lines in various parts of Sabah.

"Having the stress released continuously is better so that it will not be accumulated and released in one major earthquake," Dr Felix said.

The latest temblor occurred in Tongod district at 8.25am yesterday, with a magnitude of 3.8.

About three weeks ago, a magnitude 3.9 tremor occurred in Ranau near Mount Kinabalu on Sept 1.

The earthquake in Ranau came less than 24 hours after a 3.0 temblor hit Sapulut.

A moderate earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale, was detected in Mindanao, Philippines, 752km north-east of Kinabatangan, Sabah on Saturday.

However, the quake that was detected at 4.47am did not pose a tsunami threat.

Dr Felix said the tremors were a common occurrence, adding that Tongod had experienced such incidents at least three times over the past several years.

According to the Malaysian Meteorological Services Depart­ment records, Ranau was the most active area with tremors occurring five times since January.

Tremors occurred in Lahad Datu three times over the past nine months, making the east coast district the second most active area in Sabah.

The tremors that hit various parts of Sabah, including Sapulut, Sandakan and Keningau, ranged between 2.4 and 3.9 in magnitu­de.