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Why is Delhi-NCR getting hit by frequent earthquakes?

By: Siya Bhatia

Since April 2020, New Delhi and its nearby areas have recorded at least 14 earthquakes. According to the National Center for Seismology, all these earthquakes fell into the range of low to medium, as their magnitude was less than five.

Representative Image (Pixabay)

How does an earthquake occur?

The primary cause for an earthquake is the movement of rocks beneath the earth’s surface. The movement is usually caused by the continuous movement of plates that make up Earth’s crust.

This movement exerts stress on rocks, causing the latter to respond by breaking along existing fractures called fault lines. The sudden release of energy during such breakup causes the tremors.

According to experts, Delhi’s geographical location makes it prone to frequent earthquakes, as it lies in the Himalayan foothills.

Is a bigger earthquake on its way?

Last week, experts had warned that a high-intensity earthquake could occur in Delhi in the coming days. However, they added that there is no way of telling when that could be.

Dr Kalachand Sain, Chief of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, said that while one cannot predict the time, place or exact scale, the constant seismic activity around Delhi-NCR indicates that a major earthquake could occur in the national capital, media reported.

Dr Sain said that one of the reasons for the increasing numbers of tremors hitting Delhi is that the local fault system is quite active. “Such fault systems around Delhi are capable of producing an earthquake of magnitude around 6 to 6.5,” he said.

No Need To Panic Due To Recent Earthquakes: Seismology Centre

However, recently at a meeting convened by the National Disaster Management Authority, Director of the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) BK Bansal said that there is no need to panic due to the recent earthquakes in Delhi-NCR but it is vital to undertake preparedness and take precautionary measures.

He said given the seismic history of Delhi, minor earthquakes in Delhi-NCR are not unusual, according to a Home Ministry statement.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has requested the state governments to take steps that included ensuring compliance of building bye-laws to make upcoming constructions earthquake resilient and avoid addition of vulnerable building stock.

It suggested them to identify the vulnerable structures, especially lifeline buildings, and retrofit them. Private buildings should also be retrofitted in a phased manner.

The NDMA advised the state governments to conduct regular mock exercises and come out with SoPs for immediate response after an earthquake.

Siya Bhatia

Siya Bhatia

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