A massive earthquake is overdue in the Central Himalayan region due to years of accumulating stress. This was discovered by a team of scientists who, while digging in the region, unearthed a previous pulse of great earthquakes followed by a long hush under the layers of rock and soil within those mountains.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. “Two great earthquakes occurred 700 years ago. Since then, no great earthquake has occurred. The region has been accumulating stress. This has to break,” Dr CP Rajendran, senior associate with the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru, told HT. “We looked at fault offsets of certain sedimentary formations. Then we used different techniques to find the age of dislocations.”
The excavation sites near Ramnagar in Central Himalaya suggest there have been successive occurrences of two great earthquakes in the region in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Further work in the area is required to refine the results and tectonic models to understand the rupture segmentations along the arc, Rajendran said, adding, “All major cities in the region need to get ready for this major hazard, which is going to be economically and otherwise devastating, as the risk has increased multifold over the centuries due to population increase and expansion of built environment. An urgent action plan must be put in place for public awareness, enforcement of building codes and environmental laws.”