Saturday, 23 June 2012

Possibility of 9 magnitude quake in Northeast: Scientist

Gangtok, 20 June TON: Nearly 300 aftershocks have been recorded in the Northeast region after the massive 6.9 earthquake which occurred last year in Sikkim the scientist have now predicted the possibility of a quake up to the magnitude of 9.

Hence, some parts of Sikkim are now recommended to be upgraded to Zone V, which carries the highest risk. Sikkim right now at Zone IV after its up gradation will be adding up the list to the other 7 Zone V North East States. The researchers from the Department of Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur has predicted Sikkim and Darjeeling region in particular to fall under Zone V. “The entire Northeastern Zone is at present facing the threat of an earthquake from the Himalayan regions, one that has the potential of being of magnitude 9,” says Professor Shankar Nath of IIT Kharagpur.

Scientists studying aftershocks, recorded 292 tremors since the Sikkim earthquake, all in the range 1.5 to 5 and including 63 in the range 3.5-5, with 17 of these of magnitude 4.5 or higher. “We have completed part of our Sikkim- Darjeeling project. We have recommended that parts of Sikkim including Gangtok, Mangan and Singtham be updated to Zone V from Zone IV,” Professor Nath notifies. Further, they also recommended up gradation of few areas of the Terai- Dooars region. Months of study have resolved another contentious issue over which the scientists had been divided. Geo-scientists have come to agree that the earthquakes frequently hitting Sikkim and neighbouring areas of Bengal have not been induced by water reservoirs. “After the September 18 earthquake, there was a brainstorming session. We reached a conclusion that the earthquake is not reservoir induced; therefore hydel projects are not a threat to the area.”

Geo-scientists are of the opinion that the earthquakes have originated rather from tectonic
shifts. Sikkim government officials say the state has 27 hydel power projects out of which four are operational. According to professor Nath, the projects can be affected due to earthquakes, but the projects cannot cause earthquakes. Senior Prof Sugata Hazra, Head of the School of Oceanographic studies, Jadavpur University said, that the seismicity in the said regions has increased and these are not reservoir-induced earthquakes. Hence, the Sikkim and Bengal Governments are advised to revise disaster management plans. (TS) (txt TON & pic Pappu Mallick)