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Updated: July 3, 2014 11:48 IST

Residents split over fracture in earth

Ganesh Prabhu
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Some just curious but most are worried; geologists want use of seismic code

A crack in the earth’s surface measuring more than 90 metres at Manchikere near Manipal has generated both curiosity and fear among the residents.

Many people from other areas started flocking to Second Cross Road at Manchikere in Yembattu Badagabettu Gram Panchayat to see the crack.

Most of the residents spotted the geological fracture about two months ago but did not take it seriously as it was not a deep crack. But as the width of the crack increased, so did their curiosity.

Some residents, who measured the crack, said it was more than 12 feet deep. The residents are apprehensive after seeing the crack cutting through the foundation laid for a house.

They have different versions for the occurrence of the crack. Sudhir Nayak, resident, said the crack was first noticed after a whirlwind near a bush in the area about two months ago. “But it has become more pronounced in the last two weeks,” he said.

Vimalamma, a homemaker, said she was frightened as the crack passed very close to her house, which in a low-lying area. “I first thought the crack was due to the vibrations of a bulldozer which was being used in a nearby area. I only hope the crack in the ground does not affect the foundation of my house,” she said.

Smita Nayak, a homemaker, said her husband first noticed the crack about six months.

“Since then it has grown longer, deeper and wider,” she said. Amshumali, a poet, said decades ago a rivulet used to flow by in this area. “The crack may be related to it,” he said.

But geologists, who visited the area, wanted a study to be taken up and continuous seismic monitoring in the area. They have linked the fracture to the water level going up in Baidarbettu area in Parkala here two months ago.

Geologists’ take

H.N. Udayashankar, Professor in Geology, Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), said the crack had appeared two months ago which was in junction with the water spring found in Parkala during the same period. Both these incidents appear to have taken place due to a minor tremor.

“It appears to be a fault zone dislocation due to minor seismic activity. Henceforth, the government and regulatory authorities should permit construction of buildings with proper seismic codes. Only earthquake resistant building structures should be permitted. Since the crack is in the form of a curve, people living downstream at Manchikere should be more careful,” he said.

A.M. Niranjan, Senior Geologist, Department of Mines and Geology, said a small tremor must have taken place in the area some time ago resulting in the crack. Such cracks became more visible during rainy season, he said.

“It will be better if the government installed a seismometer in the district so that such minor tremors can be monitored. There is a weak zone in Manipal. Seismic codes must be made compulsory for all buildings,” he said.

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