Almora fault activation behind rise in earthquakes this year: Kiren Rijiju in LS
The minister said that these mainshocks, accompanied by subsequent aftershocks, led to an increased frequency of earthquakes this year
New Delhi: The activation of the Almora fault in western Nepal is the reason behind the significant rise in the number of earthquakes this year, Union minister of earth sciences, Kiren Rijiju, informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Rijiju said the activation of the Almora fault triggered significant earthquakes on January 24, October 3 and November 3. All these three earthquakes were above the 5.8 magnitude on the Richter scale.
The minister said that these mainshocks, accompanied by subsequent aftershocks, led to an increased frequency of earthquakes this year.
“It is common for northern India and Nepal to occasionally experience moderate earthquakes, and fluctuations in seismic activity. Nepal and the neighbouring northern part of India, situated near the active faults of the Himalayan region, are highly seismically active areas prone to frequent earthquakes due to collision tectonics, where the Indian plate subducts beneath the Eurasian Plate,” he said.
Data presented before the house shows that between January and November 2023, 97 earthquakes of magnitude 3 to 3.9 on the Richter scale was recorded by the National Centre for Seismology. This was the highest since 2020, when 42 earthquakes were recorded. In 2021 and 2022, 41 earthquakes were recorded, according to data quoted by the minister.
The minister also said that in the same period this year, 21 earthquakes where the magnitude was between 4 and 4.9, four earthquakes where the magnitude was 5 to 5.9 and two jolts where the magnitude on the Richter scale was recorded between 6 to 6.9.
The Almora fault is a high angle west-northwest-east-southeast to northwest-southeast trending tectonic plate that separates the Garhwal group of inner lesser Himalayas in the north from Jaunsar and Dudatoli Groups of outer lesser Himalayas in the south.
The Minister further informed that the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has published the Seismic Zoning Map of India, ranging from Zone II to V and offers guidelines for implementing the essential engineering codes and practices to construct earthquake-resistant buildings.
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