Asia coastal destination development earthquake, tsunami and weather

Asia coastal destination development earthquake, tsunami and weather

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Pacific Ring of Fire Destination Development

All development occurs in areas affected by natural phenomenon to a greater or lesser degree. We previously looked at Southeast Asia’s water supply risks and the region’s rainfall and typhoon maps. In this post we want to identify the earthquake zones in our area of interest.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Pacific Ring of Fire. It’s the area where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happens around the Pacific Ocean. Tokyo and San Francisco are cities within the ring of fire that comes to mind.

Refer to the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction map below as well as the accompanying map legend.

Asia Earthquake Zones
Asia Earthquake Zones. Source: United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Click to enlarge.

Earthquake intensity


The main contrasts are (1) between earthquake and minimal-earthquake areas, and (2) intensity of the earthquake prone areas.

Coastal resort destinations within continental Southeast Asia, except for northern Myanmar, face minimal or no earthquakes while destinations closer to the Pacific Ring of Fire such as Bali, Lombok and Boracay are within the earthquakes zone.

At the extreme are parts of Philippines which have had many earthquakes with some areas at the ‘catastrophic’ scale. The Manila Observatory produces very useful in-depth maps of natural phenomenon affecting the country. The map below shows the recorded number and size of earthquakes.


Philippines Earthquake Prone Areas


Tsunami Risk

tsunami coastal asiaIf you believe you have avoided the consequences of being in an earthquake zone think about it again. It’s not as risk-less as it seems. When the Indian Ocean earthquake struck in 2004 the follow-on tsunami hit Phuket and Sri Lanka with enough force causing loss of life and property damage. Thailand’s western coast as well as Myanmar’s Mergui archipelago are earthquake free but on the other hand exposed to high tsunami risk.  Refer to the tsunami risk map.

Update: Phuket while out of the Pacific Ring of Fire is still susceptible to localised earthquake from the Khlong Marui fault.

Weather or Earthquake?

After knowing a little about earthquake zones in Asia let’s attempt to tie it back to coastal tourism development.

Which do you think will have a relatively more negative impact on coastal tourism development – non-optimal weather or being in an earthquake zone?

Would you agree a destination having an extended monsoon (in an earthquake-free location) is less desirable than a destination in the middle of an earthquake zone (with optimal year-round weather)?

Let us know your preference by voting in the poll below.



Given two destinations where do you prefer to Develop your resort hotel? (all else being equal)

View Results

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Images: Wikipedia, Manila Observatory, UN ISDR, IBN Live

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