According to Dr. N Purnachandra Rao, a leading seismologist and chief scientist of seismology at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), a massive earthquake is "imminent" in the Uttarakhand region of India and could happen at any time.
Exact time and date cannot be predicted: Dr. Rao
A report in TOI stated stress is reportedly accumulating significantly beneath the surface, and a large earthquake is needed to release it. The expert has also noted that the exact date and time of the earthquake cannot be predicted, and the scale of devastation depends on a range of factors, including geographic location, quality of construction, and population density.
The Himalayan region, which stretches from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, is also expected to experience a great earthquake of 8-plus magnitudes, similar to the one that recently hit Turkey. The devastation that may result from the earthquake, however, cannot be commented on because it depends on various other factors. The region has around 80 seismic stations and GPS networks to monitor the situation in real-time, and it is reported that the GPS points are moving, indicating changes happening beneath the surface.
Warning from experts came amid ground subsidence issues in areas
The warning from Dr. Rao comes amid ground subsidence in Joshimath, which is a gateway to several important pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Kedarnath. The Char Dham Yatra, which brings lakhs of pilgrims to the Uttarakhand mountains, is set to begin in approximately two months.
The expert has explained that earthquakes of magnitude 8 and above are called "great earthquakes", and while the recent earthquake in Turkey was not technically a great earthquake, the devastation was high due to several factors, including poor quality construction. The scale of devastation resulting from a similar earthquake in the Uttarakhand region, therefore, remains uncertain.
The warning from Dr. Rao underscores the need for advanced preparation and vigilance in the region. While it is impossible to predict the exact date and time of the earthquake, the significant stress build-up beneath the surface is a cause for concern. The Uttarakhand region is advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent or mitigate the potential impact of a significant earthquake.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)