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'Mumbai tsunami warning rubbish'

The NGRI has discounted prediction by an Indo-Canadian scientist that tsunami might hit in Nov, writes Ashok Das.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2005 15:58 IST
Ashok Das
Ashok Das

Scientists at the National Geophysical Research Institute, the nodal agency for monitoring earthquakes, discounted the warning of an India-born Canadian Tsunami expert that a possible Tsunami in the Arabia Sea this year-end may target parts of Gujarat and Mumbai on the Western coast.

“There is yet no technology available anywhere in the world to predict earthquakes. Tsunami occurs when the epicenter of an earthquake is beneath an ocean. So, how can one predict Tsunami when we cannot forecast earthquakes?” a senior scientist at NGRI told HT.

It may be recalled that Tad Murthy, a person of Andhra origin now settled in Canada, made the dire prediction at a seminar on Tuesday. He said that Tsunamis in the Indian sub-continent usually followed a 60-year cycle. Tsunamis have occurred in both the oceans.

The last Tsunami in the Arabian Sea occurred in 1945 and the next one is likely to hit the shore before the end of this year.

Tad Murthy said that the first-known major Tsunami occurred in the Bay of Bengal in August 1883 followed by another in November 1945 in the Arabian Sea. The third Tsunami occurred in the Bay of Bengal in December 2004 and the next one is likely to occur in the Arabian Sea.

After an earthquake in the Gulf region on August 26 this year, waves rose five metres consistently for a distance of six kilometers in the Gujarat coastline. So, if a Tsunami occurs, then Mumbai and Gujarat could be the targets, particularly Kandla, Mandvi and Bhavnagar port towns.

Though Mumbai is about two metres above sea level, its low-lying areas may be inundated in case of Tsunami striking the metropolis. While buildings are likely to be spared, the slum areas will be the worst-hit. Mumbai could also be hit if a Tsunami were to strike Karachi coast in Pakistan.

Incidentally, India and Australia are the only two countries out of the 37 countries hit by the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean last year, which are setting up the Tsunami warning system on a war-footing. The earthquake and Tsunami in December 2004 had killed over 200,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and other countries in the region.

First Published: Sep 28, 2005 21:02 IST