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'Aftershocks can set off big quake in Assam'

Aftershocks of the killer quake are moving northwards, say scientists.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 01, 2005 07:57 PM IST

Aftershocks of last week's killer quake off Sumatra are moving northwards and can potentially trigger a major earthquake in Assam, scientists in the United States have cautioned the Indian government.

The scientists at the Center for Earth Observing and Space Research in George Mason University in Virginia, who have been analysing the seismic data since December 26, have found the aftershocks moving towards north along 90-degree Ridge.

"If the sequence of these aftershocks moves further north then it may trigger a very big earthquake in Assam region, which is expected by the scientists since long time," Ramesh P Singh, a member of the team and Vice Chairman of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) Risk Commission said.

Singh said that the magnitude-5 earthquake on December 30 near Myanmar reported by the US Geological Survey was probably caused by the aftershocks.

Its epicentre falls on the trajectory of the aftershocks.

Singh, who is on leave from Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur) said, "no big earthquake has occurred in Assam region for a long time and scientists believe that it is due any time".

"I am really afraid if the aftershock movement continues northward along the 90 degree east to the main boundary fault and main central thrust," Singh said.

"I hope it will subside. I am just alerting government agencies," he said.

In Assam, India's Department of Science and Technology has established a GPS satellite network for monitoring crustal movements. Singh said he has requested government agencies to keep a close eye on aftershocks.

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