Earthquake: How will Delhi, Noida fare if a magnitude 7 quake strikes Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush?
On Tuesday night, an earthquake with epicentre at north Afghanistan rocked Delhi-NCR and other parts of northern India. The tremors were felt in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan
The tremors triggered widespread panic among the people of Punjab, Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Delhi-NCR. Their fear is not misplaced. A leading scientist has claimed India may face an earthquake with a bigger magnitude than 6.6 on the Richter scale.
Geologist Dr Ajay Paul of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology has said that the Himalayan region must brace for a stronger earthquake.
He said that the Afghanistan earthquake’s epicentre was very deep, which is why large swathes of land experienced tremors. India is in seismic zone 5. He said lives can be saved via awareness and civil engineering.
Professor Kamal of IIT Roorkee told Aaj Tak that having an earthquake in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent is expected. He said in the Himalayan region of the country, there are thousands of fault lines.
According to scientists, the Indian tectonic plate is sliding at the rate of 20 mm per year towards Tibet. Since the Tibet plate isn’t giving way, there is a release of energy that causes earthquakes.
A magnitude 7 earthquake triggers two types of damages — epicentral damage and quake wave. Epicentral damage occurs within the radius of 70 kilometers. The surface wave travels to over 400 kilometers and even beyond. If an earthquake of magnitude 7 strikes Delhi-NCR, massive destruction will take place. Buildings over 15 meters of height are most vulnerable to the surface wave.
India has experienced massive earthquakes in its long history. Shillong (magnitude 8.7) in 1897, Kangra (magnitude 8.0) in 1905, Bihar-Nepal (magnitude 8.3) in 1934, and Assam-Tibet (magnitude 8.6) in 1950, triggered widespread destruction.
Seismic zone 5 is the most dangerous zone in India. The Kashmir valley, Himachal’s western part, Uttarakhand’s eastern part. Rann of Kachchh, northern Bihar, north eastern states and Andaman and Nicobar fall into this zone.
In the fourth zone are Jammu and Kashmir’s remaining regions, Ladakh, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal, Gujarat etc.