'Great earthquake' likely to rock India, warns expert - The New Indian Express

'Great earthquake' likely to rock India, warns expert

Published: 02nd May 2013 08:17 AM

Last Updated: 02nd May 2013 08:17 AM

A great earthquake of magnitude greater than 8 on the Richter scale is likely to rock India in the next few years though the epicentre cannot be predicted, scientists warn.

The Deccan Plateau and the southern region of the country, situated relatively in the middle of the plate, may witness an earthquake of maximum 6.5 magnitude, says  RK Chadha, chief scientist (seismology) at the National Geophysical Research Institute here. However, the expert cannot precisely say when it will hit the southern region.

His warning comes on a day when an earthquake shook north India, killing two persons and injuring 69, 32 of them students, in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.

“The reason that there was greater loss due to even a 6.3 magnitude quake in Latur was  the high population density in the region of the mainland as compared to the Himalayan region,” he explains.

The predictions are based on a periodicity of 15-year duration during which seismic activities are high.

“Basing on the data of the last 100 years,  eight major quakes occurred between 1905 and 1920, a pattern which was repeated in the 1950-1965 period, including the world’s largest recorded earthquake of magnitude 9.5 in Chile. It has also been observed that since 2004 six great quakes have  occurred globally. There is a likelihood that over the next five years another quake or two of magnitude greater than 8.5 will occur,” says Dr Chadha.

However, it is not possible to predict the location of the great earthquake which  possibly could occur anywhere in the world. “The major earthquakes occur at the points of contact between two tectonic plates. The Himalayan region forms the contact point between the Indian and Eurasian plate and  is therefore a region of high seismic activity. This stretches from the Himalayas to Nepal, Arunachal Pradesh till Burma. The earthquake on May 1 is a result of high seismic activity and movements in the plates,” he explains.

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