India is Warned of Possible Major Earthquake in the Delhi Region

India might have to face a powerful earthquake as geologists have alerted of a huge earthquake in the national capital of Delhi after ten low to moderate levels of intensity tremors have taken place in the region in a period of a month and a half. The tremors could point towards a powerful earthquake that is percolating in the area and could occur in the future.  

Dr, Kalachand Sain, Chief of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, said: “We cannot predict time, place or exact scale, but do believe that there is a consistent seismic activity going around in the NCR region and can trigger in a major earthquake in Delhi.”  

India’s capital city is located in a highly seismic area, and the NCR covers about 573 square miles. Tens of millions of people live in this region.  

The Effect Could be Devastating  

Professor Chandon Ghose of the Indian Institute of Technology, Jammu, has cautioned in regards to the effects of a major earthquake in the area and said it could be cataclysmic.  

He said: “Everyone knows that Delhi-NCR falls under seismic zone-4, and it’s prone to tremors, but still most of the builders do not conform to the norms of BIS. There is a nexus between architects and builders, which somehow compromises the stringent earthquake (resistant) codes. So, on any given day, if an earthquake of higher magnitude strikes here, the consequences would be grievous.”  

According to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), numerous buildings in the area do not follow the mandatory guidelines. On Friday, May 29th, two tremors rocked Delhi, registering a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale, clearly showing that most of the building could not stand a chance.  

Professor Ghose said: “At Richter scale 6.0, the effect of the earthquake in Delhi would be devastating. Many buildings would be razed to dust.”  

The Swarms of Small Tremors Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a Major Earthquake Will Hit  

Comparing India’s situation to Japan, the expert said that the latter country ‘religiously’ follows construction guidelines. He compared these places because Japan is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is one of the most seismically active areas in the world.  

Between April 12th and Mat 29th of this year, the National Center for Seismology has registered ten earthquakes in the Delhi NCR.   


India: two tremors struck near Delhi on Friday, May-29th.[Image: USGS]

According to Dr. A K Shukla, former Head of Earthquake Risk Evaluation Center, at the Indian Metrology Department, “most of these earthquakes were of low magnitude measuring from 2.3 to 4.5.”  

“However,” he said, “a series of such earthquakes ostensibly warn of a major earthquake to hit Delhi in the coming days. One of the reasons for increasing numbers of tremors hitting Delhi is that the local fault system here is quite active. Such fault systems around Delhi are capable of producing an earthquake of magnitude around 6 to 6.5.”  

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), masses of small tremors and consecutive earthquakes with growing magnitude levels can sometimes act as precursors, but not all the time. Every day, a few million earthquakes occur across the globe but do not lead to a major one.  

The USGS said: “Earthquake prediction may someday become a reality, but only after much more is learned about earthquakes.” 


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