*As per the collective statement of subject experts
The occurrence of eleven, low magnitude earthquakes in and around Delhi in the last three months has become a matter of curiosity, and concern, for some, who are inquisitive to know the implications of this sudden change in earth’s behavior.
Experts of IIT Dhanbad have urged the Governments to ensure preventive measures as a major earthquake might shake the national capital and its adjoining areas in upcoming days. PK Khan a professor at applied geophysics department of IIT Dhanbad opined that recurrent tremors of small magnitudes predict a major earthquake. He asserted that time has come for the Centre and Delhi governments to take all required measures of prevention and create awareness.
Some of the top geologists of the country have said that eleven earthquakes of low to moderate intensity have hit Delhi-NCR in the last 3 months, which indicates that a devastating earthquake may strike the National Capital in near future. Delhi is also close to the Himalayas where several earthquakes of more than magnitude 8 have occurred. There is a possibility of a few major tremors in the Himalayan region which can severely affect Delhi-NCR as shown by studies.
From April 12 to June 13, ten earthquakes have been recorded in Delhi-NCR by N.C.S (National Centre for Seismology). Four tremors in Uttarakhand and 6 in Himachal Pradesh were also recorded.
“We cannot predict exact time, place or exact scale, but do believe that there is a regular seismic activity going around in the NCR region and may trigger in a major earthquake in Delhi,” asserted Dr. Kalachand Sain, Chief at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, an autonomous institute, run under DST (Ministry of Science and Technology).
Dr. AK Shukla, ex-Head of Earthquake Risk Evaluation, Indian Metrology Department said, “Most of these earthquakes were low magnitude earthquakes measuring from 2.3 to 4.5. A series of such earthquakes ostensibly warn of a major earthquake to hit Delhi in the coming days. An obvious reason for increasing numbers of tremors hitting Delhi is the local fault system, which is quite active. Such fault systems around Delhi have the potential of producing an earthquake of magnitude around 6 to 6.5.”
According to reports, most of the buildings constructed in Delhi are not earthquake resistant and may get severely damaged in case of high magnitude tremors.
Why A Major Earthquake Will Be Catastrophic For Delhi
Delhi’s population has seen a rapid growth of 11.5 times in the past 70 years. If an earthquake-like 1720 recurs, the loss to life and property could be humungous in today’s Delhi.
The occurrence of eleven, low magnitude earthquakes in and around Delhi in the past three months has become a matter of concern. The reality is subject experts refrain from making a prediction as to whether the phenomenon is a sort of a trailer for something bigger in-store, or just a swarm of harmless micro-tremors, which would fade away into oblivion with passage of time. It would be reasonable to conduct the issue on scientific lines after rummaging through the existing database of events.
Talking in geological terms, Delhi is situated at the interface of old metamorphic rock sequence and very young alluvial sediments that have been deposited over the Indian lithosphere in response to the tectonic movements of the Himalaya. This region is located on the intersection of two regional sub-surface structures named Delhi-Haridwar Ridge and Delhi-Sargodha Ridge. The former is placed between two faults viz Mahendragarh-Dehradun Subsurface Fault and Great Boundary Fault (GBF) that are 200 km apart.
Understanding the importance of the NCR and its seismic status, it is classed in high damage risk zone IV, The IMD established a seismic telemetry network of sixteen field observatories during 1998-2000. This network has recorded 422 seismic events in the period from 2005 to 2012, the majority being tremors with a magnitude less than 3.0. This recent disturbance in the natural movement of plates is regarded somewhat out of bound for a logical explanation. We will have to wait and watch while taking all the necessary measures.