Experts say U’khand sitting on a quake bomb, millions under threat

Uttarakhand is sitting on a shaky land which may any time sway into an earthquake of much higher intensity than what was witnessed in Nepal recently,
Uttarakhand is more susceptible to earthquake as it lies between the seismic gap of 1905 Kangara earthquake and 1943 Bihar-Nepal earthquake, experts say.(HT FILE PHOTO)
Uttarakhand is more susceptible to earthquake as it lies between the seismic gap of 1905 Kangara earthquake and 1943 Bihar-Nepal earthquake, experts say.(HT FILE PHOTO)
Updated on Oct 29, 2015 01:38 PM IST
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Prithviraj Singh | By, Dehradun

Uttarakhand is sitting on a shaky land which may any time sway into an earthquake of much higher intensity than what was witnessed in Nepal recently, according to national and international seismologists who read a great stress buildup underneath awaiting a vent.

There have been frequent earthquakes and aftershocks post-Nepal disaster in and around the region.

This, they say, coincides with their studies which show that there have been a tectonic stress here for over 700 years that might be released now or after 200 years. The Nepal quake on April 25, 2015 and the Hindukush shake on Monday too are pointer to the dangerous rumblings in the earth’s womb.

The geologists and seismologists had discussed the issue at length at a recently held conference of geologists at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun, an autonomous research institution of the central government.

The tectonic stress will mainly affect central Himalayas wherein lies Uttarakhand.

The area is more susceptible to earthquake as it lies between the seismic gap of 1905 Kangara earthquake and 1943 Bihar-Nepal earthquake, they say.

Simon Klemperer, professor of geophysics and geological sciences at the Stanford University in United States, says, “The earthquake that happened in Nepal is much smaller in magnitude than the earthquake we worry about that could happen here. We don’t know when the earthquake will happen, tomorrow or in 200 years, what we do know is that it will happen and millions of Indians will lose life.”

He says there is a heavy stress beneath the Himalayas. The Indian continent is moving towards North West and that could result in its collision with the Asian plate. This is where the geological studies show a worrying tectonic upward push which would accompany heavy earthquakes and aftershocks.

The mountains would apparently gain much more height than that they saw in Nepal recently under the energy releasing along the line of an upward push, he says, adding the process has been going on for millions of years and will continue in future too.

Similar views have been expressed by the Indian

geologists as well.

“North-South stress is developing constantly along 2500 kilometres long stretches of the Himalayas. The Garhwal-Kumaon belt of Uttarakhand is bound to witness a massive earthquake in future,” says Pradeep Srivastava of the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Hiimlayan Geology.

“Uttarakhand falls between 1905 Kangra earthquake and 1934 Bihar-Nepal earthquake gap which makes it more vulnerable to greater seismic activities as the entire Himalayan belt is under a huge stress,” says Sushil Kumar of the Wadia institute.

A study paper of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research even maintains that the frontal thrust in the central Himalaya may have remained seismically inactive during the last 700 years. But, considering this long time gap, a great earthquake may be due in the region.”

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