As many as 81 new towns and cities have been added to the Central government’s latest list of earthquake prone areas, bringing the total to 107. Among these, eight new cities and towns have been identified as vulnerable to quakes of ‘very severe intensity’. If only Guwahati and Srigar were in this list back in 2002, it now includes Jorhat, Sadiya and Tezpur in Assam, as well as Imphal in Manipur, Kohima in galand, Darbhanga in Bihar, Bhuj in Gujarat and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh. The entire Northeast region of course lies in the highest-risk seismic zone V. After the jolts in Northeast and North India last week, there has been much panic of a ‘really big one’ hitting the region as long overdue. But such fears do not take into account the likely length of geological time between quake events, which can be incomparably longer than average human life-spans. Around the world, a series of powerful quakes have jolted countries as far apart as Myanmar, Ecuador, Japan, Afghanistan and Indonesia in the last couple of months, claiming many lives. This has triggered speculations whether the Earth is entering into a ‘quake mode’ with temblors likely to occur in greater frequency in the near future. Geologists however have pointed out that the recent quakes are ‘still within normal range’, so all the talk about a looming seismically active period for Earth is premature at best.