Magnitude 8 or above earthquake likely to hit J&K

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With tectonic plates shifting, an earthquake of magnitude 8 or above is likely to strike Jammu and Kashmir anytime in future.

It would be both disastrous and a havoc wrecking. It could lead to colossal loss of life. Huge infrastructural damages irreparable over a period of time are likely to take place in Jammu city and elsewhere where the structures are mostly old and weak. They are likely to suffer extensive damages.

There is no possibility of changing anything in this bleak scenario until people do not alter their building structures making them earthquake proof. This revelation was made by noted Geologist and Rector Bhaderwah Campus of Jammu University Prof G.M Bhat while talking exclusively to Newspoint bureau.

He said that earthquake that struck Jammu on Sunday, April 9 was a mild one when compared with the possibilities of another earthquake of higher magnitude striking Jammu& Kashmir. He said that state government should prioritize geological mapping and increasing awareness among people for constructing earthquake resistant structures.

Prof. Bhat said that prediction of earthquake and areas prone to earthquake is nowadays possible. “We can estimate the probability of an earthquake occurring in a region over a span of decades, but it is impossible to tell the exact date and size of an earthquake,” added Bhat. He further said that building codes should be enforced and people should be made aware of this so that they take precautions.

Regarding the earthquake which struck Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, Prof. Bhat said that the epicenter of the earthquake was Afghanistan. “The earthquake had larger impact in Afghanistan. It had little or no impact on Jammu and Kashmir. But we cannot rule out the possibility of another quake striking the state in the near future,” added Bhat.

Though pin-pointing exact time and size of earthquake is currently impossible, Bhat said that scientists can estimate probability of an earthquake occurring in a region over a span of decades. “This is exactly what the Union Earth Sciences Ministry is doing by trying to establish a network of seismic stations in Jammu and Kashmir. By doing this, scientists will be able to asses areas more prone to severe earthquakes,” Bhat added.

Jammu and Kashmir has not seen a very severe earthquake of magnitude more than 8 on Richter scale in the past 400 years. “All such tremors, scientists point out, can be attributed to stresses building up due to compressive forces arising out of the movement of the tectonic plates. In this scenario, the right thing to do would be to make buildings and cities safer and citizens more aware,” added Bhat.

He said that this is being done keeping in view the fact that great earthquakes had shaken many Himalayan regions in the past. Also, “J&K behaves differently from the rest of the Himalayan region in terms of small and moderate earthquakes,” Bhat concluded. He was of the opinion that people should start building earthquake resistant structures.

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