HYDERABAD: There exists no technology to predict an earthquake, its epicentre or magnitude, but denizens here in Hyderabad need not lose sleep over it. According to seismologists and geologists, Hyderabad is one of the safest cities in the country when it comes to earthquakes.
“Hyderabad may not see tremors of the magnitude of 4.5 or more on the richter scale. Telangana comes under zone 2 whereas Andhra Pradesh region comes under zone 3, both of which are not very vulnerable,” N Purnachander Rao, Principal Seismologist at the CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) told Express.
The Bureau of Indian Standards’ seismic hazard map puts the Himalayan region, Kashmir, Gujarat, and north-eastern States under zone 5, classified as the most hazardous. The Indo-Gangetic plain, Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh come under zone 4 and Mumbai, Latur, Chennai, Jabalpur, Bangalore, Tirupati, Vijayawada, Warangal, Bhadrachalam, Ongole and Kolkata fall under zone 3. The peninsular region falls in zone 2. Only a handful of earthquakes above magnitude 5 have occurred in the two States in the last several decades. The biggest earthquake in AP/Telangana came in 1969 at Bhadrachalam and its magnitude was 5.7 on the richter scale. Vizianagaram recorded 5.5 and Ongole 5.4 on the Richter scale in 1967.
The Himalayas, which were formed as a result of the collision between Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates millions of years ago, is a region most prone to severe earthquakes. As the Indian plate continues to underthrust beneath the Eurasian plate, earthquakes are a common phenomena there. An earthquake of magnitude 9 is also possible, Rao said.
“In Andhra Pradesh, the maximum on the richter scale that one can expect would be 6. That would be powerful enough to cause minimum damage. All one could do is stop ignoring seismic aspects while constructing buildings, especially high-rises,” the senior Principal scientist advised.