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Big quake in near future not likely, say experts

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 Jan 2016 12:00 AM GMT

BY Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Jan 6: Experts have ruled out possibility of a "large" or "great" earthquake striking the Northeast in the immediate future.

A section of the media, including some local TV channels have reported quoting unmed Union Home Ministry officials that a high intensity quake of magnitude 8.2 may hit the Himalayas soon, triggering panic among the people.

"There is absolutely no possibility of occurrence of a large or great earthquake in the Northeast in the immediate future," Saurav Baruah, Principle Scientist at the Jorhat-based North Eastern Regiol Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST), told The Sentinel over phone.

He cited various research papers which stated that a great quake occurs after a span of over 100 years.

Generally, quakes which occur at tectonic faults are due to stress accumulation over a period of time.

The region has experienced extremely destructive quakes like the Shillong quake of 1897 and the Assam quake of 1950, both measuring around 8.5 on the Richter scale and reckoned to be two major quakes in human history, both in terms of intensity and destruction.

The 1897 quake that occurred in the Shillong plateu had left 1,542 people dead.

"Predicting an earthquake is next to impossible. Of late, we have set up laboratories in the region and people are studying the precursory phenome. But nothing concrete has emerged so far," Baruah said.

Another seismologist Surya Kanta Sarma and said there is no method to predict an earthquake.

"Quakes cannot be predicted precisely. But calculations are done based on which experts talk about the possibility of quakes occurring after a certain interval - say 100 years or so. But even that technique is not cent percent accurate. It has failed at times," Sarma said.

Geographer Abani Kumar Bhagawati said the reports were creating "unnecessary panic" among the people. "Scientifically, it is not possible to predict an earthquake," he said.

"The government and various organizations should sensitize the people. More people are killed due to panic than due to the effect of a quake," he added.

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