The epicentre of quakes in India and neighbourhood during the month of July seemed to have shifted from the east and northeast-bounded regions to northwest.

Not that east and northeast was silent; it too had its usual share of ground movements all the way from Myanmar and Assam to Nagaland (see table).

COMES TO LIFE

What was exceptional, however, was how the Hindu Kush ranges suddenly came to life during the month of July.

These run through Afghanistan and Pakistan and in close proximity to the Himalayas and Jammu and Kashmir.

Expert view is that the Hindu Kush-Himalayas make for one of the most complex, dynamic, and intensive hotspots of risk from natural hazards, including quakes.

The mountains are young and dynamic and still tectonically very active. This is what triggers the frequent ground movements.

The UN international strategy for disaster reduction notes that Asia has the highest number of fatalities from natural disasters of any region.

Within Asia, countries of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas (including India) have the greatest number of disasters and casualties.

Four significant events were reported from Afghanistan during the month, the most intense reported with a magnitude (M) of 6.3 on the Richter scale (M6.3); the rest measured at M5+.

For a change, the Indonesian region lay muted this month, with only two events of M5.6 and M6.6 being reported on July 16 and 25 respectively.

MAURITIUS SHOCKER

It was for Mauritius-Reunion towards the far west (southwest Indian Ocean) to bang in a surprise for the month with an M6.7 on the 26th followed by a M5.8 aftershock.

Elsewhere, India’s vulnerable eastern border too rocked during the course of the month, and intensely at times.

Of them, six events measured to above M5.5, with the strongest reported from Phek, Nagaland (M5.8).

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