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Severe quake likely in Uttarakhand: expert

With warnings that a severe earthquake can strike Uttarakhand anytime, the State will have to be prepared rather than be caught unawares as duringthe floods in 2013 that caused heavy casualties and damage as on the road to Kedarnath and Rudraprayag. Photo: Prashant Nakwe  

In the wake of the recent Nepal earthquake, the possibility of a temblor of magnitude 8 striking Uttarakhand has come up for discussion.

A research article, “Geomorphology reveals active décollement geometry in the central Himalayan seismic gap”, says a 700-km-long “central seismic gap” on the Himalayan front had not ruptured in a major earthquake in 200-500 years. The western half of the gap spans Uttarakhand, the article says.

Vinod Kumar Gaur, Geophysicist and Honorary Professor with the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) in Bangalore, told The Hindu: “A major earthquake is bound to occur [in Uttarakhand]. It might occur tomorrow, or 50 years later, but it will hit the State.”

“According to our calculations, the ongoing plate tectonic process has already stored sufficient elastic strain energy in several segments of the Himalayas west of Nepal, including Uttarakhand, which could generate equal or higher magnitude earthquakes in the future. Our current understanding allows us to estimate the accumulated strain energy but not the time of its release which is controlled by the variable bearing strengths of rocks in different regions,” Professor Gaur wrote in an e-mail response to queries by The Hindu.

Seismic hazards have been sidelined in the construction of structures including hydroelectric projects and roads across the State.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 12:49:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/severe-quake-likely-in-uttarakhand/article7195044.ece

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