Assam quake prediction is proved wrong

A geologist from University of Madras had on Wednesday said that a major quake could strike the state on Friday.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2006 19:56 IST

The prediction of a high-magnitude earthquake in Assam by a geologist from the University of Madras was proved wrong with no tremors experienced on Friday.

N Venkatanathan of the university's Department of Applied Geology had on Wednesday said there was 70 per cent chance of a 7-8 magnitude earthquake hitting Assam at 8.21 a.m. He said the epicentre would be about 15 km southwest of Dibrugarh, 500 km east of Assam's main city of Guwahati.

Thousands of people had come out of their homes since early on Friday morning and waited in the open, anticipating the tremor, after the prediction had crated panic and chaos in the city. But as the clock struck 8.21, panic gave way to a sense of relief and jubilation.

"There is no doubt about it. We are absolutely relieved," said Nabanita Baruah, a doctor here.

There were loud cheers as people embraced one another in relief.

All government disaster management teams had been alerted Thursday itself to be ready to meet any eventuality. Authorities are still on maximum alert with the deployment of doctors, fire tenders, civil defence and army personnel.

"Despite the earthquake not having taken place, we are still on alert," said RK Hazarika, secretary of Assam government's disaster management wing.

However, there is anger among people who now question the validity of such a pinpointed prediction.

Venkatanathan had earlier said his alert was not an official warning but flowed out of his theory based on geo-astrophysical calculations that he had successfully tested for several years.

First Published: Sep 08, 2006 10:43 IST