That was one of the headlines on the front page of yesterday’s UB Post. As is commonly the case, there was little in the actual article to substantiate the sensational headline. We have had a few quakes in Mongolia in the past month or so, but mostly in unpopulated areas. A minor quake shook the south side of town, though, and coming in such close proximity to the Haiti quake, people are naturally nervous.
The article quotes G. Olziibat, Earthquake Survey Department Head of Mongolia’s Astronomy and Geophysics Survey Institute (how’s that for a title?), as saying that a worst case scenario would put Ulaanbaatar in the path of a 10.0 magnitude earthquake, although a likelier situation would be a 7.0 tremor with its epicenter in Hustai National Park, near Ulaanbaatar. The survey institute went on to say that they needed 3 billion tugrik in funding. I suppose that’s just the way it goes in science, but it still makes me raise an eyebrow when I hear, “We think a 10.0 magnitude earthquake may hit the capital, but we can’t say for sure unless you give us over two million dollars.”
Just a quick note on another news story from the front page: “Mongolian Antelope Invasion Causes Alarm in Russia.” The Russian source indicates that up to 40,000 Central Asian antelopes have crossed the border from Mongolia to Russia and that another 60-70,000 are in border areas. What struck me as funny is that the Russians are sweating this on two fronts. First, they are worried because of the massive impact the antelope are having on livestock fodder. But the second problem relates to poaching. They have already placed five people under investigation for hunting the antelope, because it is listed in the Russian book of endangered animals. They’re being overrun by 100,000 antelope, yet they’re endangered. Mongolia has about 1.2 million of these antelopes, by the way.