'Don't worry about frequent quakes in Kashmir'

Seismologists ascribe the frequent quakes in Kashmir to the collision of Indian and Eurasian plates, saying there was nothing to worry.

G. Suresh, senior scientist at National Centre for Seismology, said that “there has been increase in tremors for last some time in Kashmir and along Ladakh-China border.”

Kashmir, he said lies on the “boundary of two colliding tectonic plates— the small Indian plate that underlies most of India and Pakistan, including much of Kashmir, and the vast Eurasian plate that underlies Europe, China, Russia, and much of the Middle East.”

Suresh said that subcontinent has been moving northward by some centimetres every year. “It is colliding with the Eurasian continent and as a result tremors are caused,” he said, adding that movement is causing tremors in tall mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the Karakoram, Hindukush in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Himalayas in Kashmir are tectonically active and highly vulnerable to earthquakes.”

The senior scientist said that earthquakes in the Himalayan region have occurred from time to time but without any kind of predictable interval. “As the Indian plate moves, it is pushed beneath Eurasian plate.”

He said that Kashmir and Ladakh are in Zone IV and V. “We are moving towards zone V,” he said, adding that Zone V is rated as the most seismically prone region.”

Jammu & Kashmir is the western most extension of the Himalayan mountain range in India. J&K state is prone to these natural disasters besides manmade disasters or anthropogenic disasters including fires. Both the capital cities of J&K i.e. Jammu and Srinagar are in Seismic zone IV and V.

Pertinently, Bureau of Indian Standards, based on various scientific inputs from a number of agencies including earthquake data supplied by IMD, has grouped the country into four seismic zones viz. Zone–II, Zone-III, Zone-IV and V.

“There is,” Suresh said, “no mechanism to predict earthquakes. However, there is no denying the fact that  Himalayas in Kashmir are tectonically active and highly vulnerable to earthquakes”.

Seismology department officials said that Kashmir has been shaken numerous times by earthquakes in the past millennium. They said earthquakes in 1885 (M 6.2, 30 km to the west) and 2005 (M 7.6, 200 km to the west) with estimated EMS (European macro seismic Scale) intensity VI-VII were quite damaging.

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