Bengaluru: Growing warnings by scientists of an impending high-magnitude earthquake in the Himalayas have got further credence from yet another study by Indian researchers. The new study, led by seismologist CP Rajendran of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru, says the “enormous stacking up of strain in the region portends at least one earthquake of magnitude 8.5 or more in one of the overlapping segments of the central Himalayas anytime in the future”.
According to the study, published in “Geological Journal”, the researchers critically evaluated existing databases along with the data from two newly explored locales, to determine the timing of the last faulting event on the frontal thrust of the central Himalayas.
The analysis, the researchers say, “compels us to conclude that a great earthquake of magnitude 8.5 or more that occurred between years 1315 and 1440 had unzipped a stretch of about 600 km in the central Himalayas. After this massive earthquake, the frontal thrust covering parts of India and eastern Nepal has remained seismically quiet for 600 to 700 years, implying enormous build-up of strain in the region.
An earthquake of magnitude 8.5 or more is overdue in this part of the Himalayas, given the long-elapsed time. Considering this potentially high seismic risk, a quake will be particularly catastrophic for a region marked by an ever-growing population and unhindered expansion of the built-up environment. So, poor preparedness is now way to meet this contingency.