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'Next tsunami from India's west coast'

The west coast is in danger as a quake of even a small magnitude can trigger a tsunami.

india Updated:

The Indian sub-continent could face the next tsunami threat from the West and not the East as the 500-km fault line along Baluchistan remained dangerously vulnerable to earthquakes of high magnitudes, according to noted geophysicist and Crawford Prize winner Dan McKenzie.

"This rapture zone, lying East to West near South Iran, is much narrower compared to the 1,200-km-long weak zone along the Indonesian island, where the 9.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated the East coast of India and Sri Lanka in December 2004. However, this has remained silent for long and pose a live danger to the West coast of India," he opined.

Delivering a lecture on 'Living with Earthquakes' at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, he said nobody knew when it 'moved' in the recent past, but it was a potential danger to the West coast of the sub-continent as an earthquake of even a small magnitude could trigger a tsunami.

Prof McKenzie said the north Indian belt was one of the most dangerous belts prone to earthquake and the cities in this part of the country faced a major threat due to dense population.

He said educating people about the dangers posed by tsunamis could go a long way in minimising loss of life. While some structured buildings remained unscathed, like a mosque in Southern Sri Lanka, fishing villages on the coast were wiped out.

As soon as there was a earthquake of the magnitude that could trigger a tsunami, the sea level would first go down, before the sub-surface waves moving at over 500-km per hour hit the coast.

"At this time, people should run for life as a bulge in the sea will be the next step before the waves hit the coast," he said.

First Published: Feb 25, 2007 12:09 IST