Ground Report | New Delhi: Major Earthquakes in Kashmir; It was the morning of October eight, 2005: when most of the people were asleep in Kashmir; since people were observing the month of Ramadhan and hence opted to rest, suddenly everything started to shake. The shakes however were very powerful and prompted people to leave the comfort of their homes and run out towards open. It was a huge earthquake of magnitude 7.6 which had jolted the whole of Kashmir valley.
However, the impact was such that it still is fresh in the memories of people after these many years. The earthquake and its aftermath came out as a nightmare for many people. The loss of life and property was high. The earthquake on the other hand garnered a lot of attention from international scientists to study more about the seismic activity of Jammu and Kashmir.
Earthquakes in Kashmir
In the past month, Jammu Kashmir has witnessed more than six earthquakes. These earthquakes however were all of the small magnitudes and did not cause any serious destructions or damages to the property and life. However, the increasing occurrences of earthquakes have given rise to speculations that a major earthquake is on its way. Though nothing can be confirmed right now, past studies also hint towards the same. It is however believed to be of more magnitude and more impact than the 2005 earthquake.
The region of Kashmir comes under zone 5, also referred to as the Very High Damage Risk Zone. Kashmir region is one of the most earthquake-prone areas in India. And the history of earthquakes here has proved, why Kashmir is categorized in this list. Even at the start of the year 2022, Kashmir has already witnessed more than six earthquakes. If reports are to be believed, more than 160 earthquakes have jolted the region over a period of 12 years till the year 2021.
Some reports suggest that in the year 2011 more than seven earthquakes hit Kashmir. The number rose to eleven in the year 2012. More than 25 earthquakes were experienced in the region in the year 2013 and in the year 2014 approximately nineteen earthquakes jolted the region. Not only this in October 2015 an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 shook up the region of Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in the death of three people.
The majority of Kashmir is vulnerable to earthquakes. Experts attribute earthquakes in J&K to a variety of causes, like the geography of the valley. The valley of Kashmir is exposed to natural disasters. ‘Multi danger districts’ have been recognized in at least 13 of India’s 100 districts.
Most of Kashmir, including the districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Budgam, and Anantnag, as well as parts of the Jammu region, such as Doda, Ramban, and Kishtwar, have been classified as Seismic Zone V, which is prone to earthquakes, by the Indian Meteorological Department. While the rest of the districts have been classified as Seismic Zone IV.
Major Earthquake On its Way?
Various studies were conducted after the powerful 2005 earthquake, which resulted in a lot of loss of life and property. Researchers and geologists also read the geology of all the regions of Kashmir. The research is still underway. Some researches and studies suggest that a major earthquake of 8-9 magnitude on the Richter scale can jolt the valley and will have a very bad impact.
A study conducted by Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences also known as CIRES has suggested that a possible earthquake of magnitude nice can hit the region. According to the study, the findings are the first thorough estimates of seismic activity in the area based on GPS readings, and the data show that accumulated strain might potentially cause a mega-earthquake between the Kashmir Valley and the Pir Panjal Range.
Another study conducted by the Oregon State University America also suggests the same. According to the study conducted there, an earthquake of magnitude eight or even high can hit the valley. Furthermore, the study also showed that the Riasi fault has been building up pressure for some time, and its energy release could result in an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater.
Nevertheless, as of now nothing can be stated or confirmed as there has been no legal advisory issued. Also, nothing has been confirmed by the Indian Metrological Department.
It is pertinent to mention that the 2005 earthquake was the major earthquake Kashmir witnessed. The earthquake occurred at around 8:50 in the morning of October eight. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. Shocks were also felt in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, and the Xinjiang region. More than 80,000 people were killed. It is considered to be one of the deadliest earthquakes to have jolted the South Asia region in contemporary times. In the region of Jammu and Kashmir, an estimated 1,350 people were killed and 6,266 injured in the earthquake.
Since more than six earthquakes have already jolted the valley, people have mixed beliefs and reactions to them. Some people believe that these small tremors and shocks are averting the bigger earthquake. While the others believe that these small tremors are foreshocks of a possible bigger earthquake. But what is worth mentioning here is that the destruction caused by the 2005 earthquake still has lasting effects on the minds of people. And the fear of losing and loss is making them vulnerable.
About Earthquakes That Happened in Past 30 Days
The details of the six earthquakes is as follows:
- 17 February Doda 3.5 5 Km.
- 16 February Ladakh 4.0 15 km.
- 16 February Jammu Kashmir 3.2 16 km.
- 10 February Jammu Kashmir 3.8 20 km.
- 29 Jan Ladakh 3.3 10 Km.
- 22 Jan Doda 4.0 83 Km.
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