When can India expect the next quake?
Well, according to seismologists, India is overdue for not just one, but several earthquakes, especially in the Himalayan region.india Updated: Mar 13, 2003 12:15 IST
Well, according to seismologists, India is overdue for not just one, but several earthquakes, especially in the Himalayan region. The analogy most often drawn is that of a giant spring, where the Indian plate is being compressed against the Eurasian plate.
Numerous studies across the globe indicate that the seismic activity in the Himalayan region has been inadequately studied and further research is needed for more accurate prediction.
However what they do agree on the 'overdue factor', as there are major gap areas where earthquakes have not occurred in the last 200 - 300 years. They conclude that the pressure accumulated in the meantime should see a release soon.
Another reason cited is the gradual contraction of the plate, which adds its own pressure to the region. The Himalayas, according to studies, is contracting at a rate of about 18 mm annually, while Tibet is contracting at a rate of 12 mm per year. In peninsular India the rate is slower, about 3 mm annually.
Researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder have concluded that the only way to relieve the enormous pressure built in the trans Himalayan region would be the occurance of… yes, earthquakes. Which would affect millions of lives. The Cooperative Institute of Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) has also concluded that anywhere between one and seven earthquakes of magnitude 8.1 to 8.3 are overdue.
Researchers at University of Colorado, Boulder divided the Himalayas into ten regions, each about 220 kilometres long and corresponding to past great earthquakes. Research revealed that at least 70 per cent of the area could have an earthquake of magnitude upto 8.1 while in 40 per cent of the area, the magnitude could be as high as 8.3.