Science and Technology

Shaky Himalayas

| Updated on April 11, 2021

Why there’s a need to study the ongoing subsurface deformation that makes the Himalayan region vulnerable to large earthquakes

Scientists have found that the Himalayas are not uniform and assume different physical and mechanical properties in different directions — a property present in crystals that is called ‘anisotropy’. This could result in significantly large earthquake events in the Himalayas.

The north-west region of India, an area covering Garhwal and Himachal Pradesh, has been hit by four destructive moderate to great earthquakes since the beginning of the 20th century — Kangra (1905), Kinnaur (1975), Uttarkashi (1991) and Chamoli (1999).

These seismic activities manifest large-scale subsurface deformation and weak zones, underlining the need for deeper insights into the ongoing deformation beneath these tectonically unstable zones.

Researchers from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, studied the seismic waves from 167 earthquakes recorded by 20 broadband seismic stations deployed in the Western Himalaya and concluded that the major contribution to the anisotropy is the strain induced by the Indo-Eurasia collision (going on since 50 million years.

Published on April 11, 2021

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