Potential Issues Faced on Reservoir-Triggered Earthquakes in Malaysia

  • D. T. W. LooiEmail author
  • J. C. L. Chiang
  • H. H. Tsang
  • N. T. K. Lam
Conference paper
Part of the Water Resources Development and Management book series (WRDM)


Construction of reservoirs is known to have risks in triggering earthquakes. These reservoir-triggered earthquakes (RTE) are transitory phenomena which may feature a delay to occur, depending on the geology and geotechnical properties. RTE pose threats to buildings, and yet is remained at a research level in view of the normally unsuccessful prediction for duration of when and how long the vicinity of reservoir will experience RTE. Due to concern raised by public, interested parties and the Minister of Works on possibility of RTE as a result of the construction of Bakun Dam and future dams in Sarawak, a short communication paper crafted by the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) Earthquake Committee, consulted by the international advisory group, was submitted to the Work Ministry. This paper replicates part of the short communication discussing on potential issues faced on RTE in Malaysia and put a focus on the recommendations of a minimum seismic loading in building design codes (i.e. peak ground acceleration of 0.07 g on rock), for a baseline protection, rather than just relying on the insufficient recorded data in limited years for lower seismicity area, for example like Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.


Reservoir-triggered earthquakes Low-to-moderate seismicity regions Minimum seismic loading 



Effective peak ground acceleration


Institution of Engineers Malaysia


Magnitude of earthquake


Peak ground acceleration


Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment


Earthquake source to site distance


Reservoir-triggered earthquakes


Sarawak Energy Berhad



The authors are grateful for the services given by the IEM Earthquake Committee members for the past 8 years of voluntary work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. T. W. Looi
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • J. C. L. Chiang
    • 2
    • 6
  • H. H. Tsang
    • 3
    • 5
  • N. T. K. Lam
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering, Computing and ScienceSwinburne University of TechnologyKuchingMalaysia
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering and The Built EnvironmentSEGi UniversityJayaMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Construction EngineeringSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Infrastructure EngineeringUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.IEM Earthquake Committee International Advisory GroupPetaling JayaMalaysia
  6. 6.Chair of the IEM Earthquake CommitteePetaling JayaMalaysia

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