Himalayan earthquake to strike soon? Study warns of an impending mega disaster

By: | Published: December 1, 2018 6:33 PM

The researchers followed the local geology and structural map published by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), besides using Google Earth and imagery from Indian space agency ISRO's Cartosat-1 satellite.

The studies along the frontal thrust in the Indian part of the central Himalaya disclose a faulting event between 14th and 15th century, and a dominant view presupposes the 1505 CE earthquake as the likely source. (Representational photo: Reuters)

A new study, led by seismologist C.P. Rajendran of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru, says that an earthquake of magnitude 8.5 or more is overdue in the Himalayas, given the long-elapsed time. It says that the enormous stacking up of strain in the region portends at least one earthquake of magnitude 8.5 or more in one of the overlapping segments of the central Himalayas anytime in the future, news agency IANS reported.

The studies along the frontal thrust in the Indian part of the central Himalaya disclose a faulting event between 14th and 15th century, and a dominant view presupposes the 1505 CE earthquake as the likely source, IANS reported. The researchers critically evaluated existing databases along with the data from two newly explored locales, Mohana Khola in far western Nepal and Chorgalia, which falls within the Indian territory, so as to determine the timing of the last faulting event on the frontal thrust of the central Himalayan region.

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News agency IANS reported according to researchers the analysis compels us to conclude that a great earthquake of magnitude 8.5 or more that had occurred between 1315 and 1440 had unzipped a stretch of the length of central seismic gap from Bhatpur to beyond Mohana Khola (about 600 km) in the central Himalayan region with an average slip (or displacement) of 15 metres and the present study underlines the fact after this massive earthquake, the frontal thrust in the central Himalayas has remained seismically quiet for 600 to 700 years, thus implying enormous build-up of strain in the region.

The researchers followed the local geology and structural map published by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), besides using Google Earth and imagery from Indian space agency ISRO’s Cartosat-1 satellite. GSI comes under Ministry of Mines, Government of India.

The findings by Rajendran and his team confirm two other studies by Indian geophysicists and even backed by Roger Bilham, a US geophysicist, whose years of work laid the basis for the current knowledge about quakes in the Himalayas.

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Meanwhile, back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 shattered highways and rocked buildings Friday in Anchorage and the surrounding area, sending people running into the streets and a Tsunami warning was issued on Friday for coastal areas of Alaska’s southern Kenai Peninsula after a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck.

The US Geological Survey said the first and more powerful quake was centered about 12 kilometers north of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, with a population of about 300,000. People ran from their offices or took cover under desks. The 5.7 shock arrived within minutes, followed by a series of smaller quakes.

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