Geologist warns of possibility of high intensity earthquake in future





The possibilities of  high intensity earthquakes around main central thrust,(MCT) active from east to west  across the Himalayan  states of Uttarakhand  and Himachal Pradesh, is high in future as  the  activities in this thrust is increasing  due to  accumulation of energy  inside the  earth, Said the geologist in Kumaon University at Nainital.

Dr B.S. Kotlia, a well known geologist  and professor of geology at Kumaon university Nainital,  has warned the  region against the high intensity earthquakes in the  state  particularly in the Kumaon region as, according to him, the otherwise calm, south Almora (SAT) thrust has become active in last decades as accumulated energy under earth  is expressing itself in small tremors occurring  from  last  several years.

According to Dr Kotalia, the weak Zone exists naturally below main central thrust that also passes through the region, has started movement with a speed of 10 mm per year at present.

 “We cannot deny the future destruction in the region as well as in the state as the hitherto calm, Almora thrust, spread from Suyalbari in Almora to Kalamuni in Munsiyari has become  highly active in last decades due to unplanned constructions in the region” said Dr Kotalia who has been researching on geological activities from past decade, in the region under UGC fellowship.

Kotalia said that there are two types of rocks found in the hill region of Himalayas, one,   soft rocks   and another hard rocks. While the construction on hard rocks is somewhat sustainable to  earthquake the  construction of roads and houses on soft rocks, which  mostly formed  on the soil brought by rivers in  thousands of years, gets most damaged. “ The JCB machines being used in road  construction in Hill region,  can, however  be used in hard rock portions, but  when we use these machines   at  soft rock portions in Himalayan region, the earth below gets more  fragile or weak becoming susceptible  to more damages at the time of earthquakes’ said Dr Kotalia.

According to Dr Kotalia, even if the town planning under master plan is not followed in the region   and  extraction of  debris in  roads construction projects is continued to be done by  heavy machines, the future  landslides  in these regions in the aftermath of tremors  cannot be  ruled out . “The geological survey of every construction project is equally essential to the projects” said Dr Kotalia.

 “According to the geological  studies compiled between 2006-11, under  sponsorship of  department of  science   and technology Government of India  and   G.B. Pant  institute of  environment  and sustainable development at Katarmal  in Almora, while  main central thrust is  highly active, main boundary thrust is less  active compared  to  MCT,” said Dr Kotalia.

According to  the geologist, there  are  several thrusts  crossing the south Kumaon region of Almora  and  Nainital, these includes, main boundary thrust at Jyolikot, also known as  Nainital lake fault, Shyakhet fault bear Bhawali in Nainital, Ramgarh thrust  crossing Almora Haldwani  highway near Khairna, North Almora   and  south Almora fault  near  Suyalbari   and  Someshwar regions  of Almora  district. “These faults, accompanied by several other zig zag thrusts along these, are spread up to Munsiyari and beyond it to Garhwal region the state” said Dr Kotalia.

Dr Kotalia said that the earthquake occurred  on Wednesday, been more than 30 km  deep, it  would have  done  much damages as  energy deposited under the earth  below 20 km  has not been released from  long time. “This accumulated energy can explode with these faults” said Dr Kotalia.

According to Dr Kotalia, the situation of Munsiyari town in Pithoragarh district is highly sensitive from earthquake damages points of view as it is situated   on the main central thrust. “The unplanned houses constructed in Ranikhet, Almora, and Bageshwar in Pithoragarh town of Kumaon region are  at the risks of damages in future earthquakes as these have been constructed   keeping  master plans  planes   aside.