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. More than 2,500 aftershocks in wake of Asia tsunamis
VIENNA (AFP) Jan 06, 2005
More than 2,500 aftershocks have been recorded in the wake of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake which triggered devastating tidal waves in south Asia 11 days ago, the body set up to monitor nuclear tests said Thursday.

"1,500 aftershocks were recorded in the 48 hours that followed the quake, and 1,000 since then, said Bernhard Wrabetz, a spokesman for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

One of the strongest tremors, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, was observed Wednesday off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, he added.

CTBTO experts believe that the aftershocks will continue for several months but will become more and more sporadic.

Earlier Thursday, the CTBTO said Indonesia and Thailand were warned almost immediately of the massive undersea earthquake which struck on December 26, unleashing tsunamis that have killed more than 146,000 people around the shores of the Indian Ocean.

The Vienna-based CTBTO has a network of sensors across the world, which were set up to detect any nuclear tests that violate the 1996 treaty but also monitor natural seismic activity.

"Our mission is not to detect earthquakes and tsunamis, but we want to adapt our system so that it can also function to this end," with a specific alert capacity, Wrabetz added.

The giant waves sparked by the quake off Sumatra hit Indonesia within 30 minutes and Thailand half an hour later, killing more than 90,000 and more than 5,000 people respectively. The failure to give a warning sparked a row in Thailand, where many foreign tourists were among the victims.

The Thai government announced last week it would set up an inquiry into why the public was not alerted.

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