India averages a major quake every two years
Ever wondered whether India was becoming too quake-prone for comfort? The country has witnessed six major earthquakes in the last 13 years.india Updated: Mar 13, 2003 12:10 IST
Ever wondered whether India was becoming too quake-prone for comfort? The country has witnessed six major earthquakes in the last 13 years (between August 1988 and January 2001). Each measured more that 6 on the Richter Scale. That's an approximate average of a quake every two years.
Compare this with figures for the period August 1950 to January 1975: four major tremblors. That's at an average of a one every six years. The 123 years before Independence have seen only 10 major quakes. Scientists at the Seismology Division of the Indian Meteorological Department accept that the incidences have been increasing. But they see no pattern in the Indian quakes.
"We study earthquakes as a global phenomenon. If the global averages are studied, they do not show an alarming rise. The Indo-Australian plate is colliding with the Eurasian plate and hence the quakes in India," said Seismology Division Director R S Dattatrayam.
That still leaves the reason for the high incidence of quakes over the last 13 years unanswered. "There has been no study on the increasing frequency of quakes. Earlier, the monitoring system in India was not so strong. So, many earthquakes could have gone unrecorded. Moreover, the population has also shown a steady increase. The major quakes get noticed when the casualties are high and bigger the population, greater the devastation," said Seismology Division chief A K Shukla. A global earthquake map released last year had listed India, southern California, S E Hawaii and Turkey among the places that were most earthquake-prone.
"The increase could be because of long term cyclic changes along the Maharashtra, Gujarat belt that is an active zone. However, nothing is clear yet. This is an area that hasn't been studied," said Dr B K Rastogi, Deputy Director of the National Geophysical Research Institute at Hyderabad.