Turkey and Syria are reeling from the aftermath of back-to-back earthquakes that killed over 5,000 people. As search and rescue efforts continue, back in India, the big question is – how prone is India to earthquakes and which parts of India are in the danger zone.
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According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, nearly 60% of India could be prone to earthquakes of different intensities. The statement on earthquake-prone zones across the country was made in a written reply to the Lok Sabha in December 2022.
The Himalayan Danger Zone
“The Himalayan belt is considered one of the most seismically active intra-continental regions of the world. This region has witnessed several moderate to severe magnitude earthquakes and a few very severe (M>8.0) earthquakes along its about 2400 km long belt," the statement said.
Scientists have indicated that strain is currently building up along the Main Himalayan Thrust, where great earthquakes are expected to occur, the statement said.
The statement states that as per the seismic zoning map of the country, the total area is classified into four seismic zones. Zone V is seismically the most active region, while zone II is the least.
India’s Seismic Zones
The areas that come under Zone V which is considered the most active region include - parts of Jammu and Kashmir, western part of Himachal Pradesh, Eastern part of Uttarakhand, Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, part of Northern Bihar, all the northeastern states and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, remaining part of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Some parts of Haryana, Parts of Punjab, Delhi, Sikkim, northern part of Uttar Pradesh, small portions of Bihar and West Bengal, parts of Gujarat and small portions of Maharashtra near the west coast and small part of western Rajasthan come under Zone IV.
Kerala, Goa, Lakshadweep islands, some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, remaining parts of Gujarat and Punjab, some parts of West Bengal, part of western Rajasthan, part of Madhya Pradesh, remaining part of Bihar, northern parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, parts of Maharashtra, parts of Odisha, parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka belong to Zone III.
Parts of Rajasthan and Haryana, remaining parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, remaining parts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, remaining parts of Telangana and Karnataka, remaining parts of Tamilnadu belong to Zone II – the least active regions.
The Delhi Factor
Seismologists have time and again argued that Delhi and neighboring Gurugram bear high risks when it comes to earthquakes because of the geography of the region.
Delhi is said to be located near three active seismic fault lines - Sohna, Mathura and Delhi-Moradabad. The Delhi-NCR region is also close to the Himalayas which already comes under the high-risk category.
Most Prominent Earthquakes
According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the prominent earthquakes in the Himalayan belt are 1897 earthquake along Shillong Plateau with magnitude 8.1, 7.8 magnitude quake in 1905 in Kangra, 1934 quake along the Bihar-Nepal Border with 8.3 magnitude, quake along the Arunanchal-China border in 1950 with 8.5 magnitude, 2015 Nepal Earthquake with magnitude 7.9.
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