Will Delhi Be Hit By ‘Big Earthquake’ Soon? Expert Debunks Claims

“It is not possible to predict an earthquake anywhere in the world,” said Dr Kalachand Sain.

Published15 Jun 2020, 11:59 AM IST
2 min read

Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui

Since mid-April, the national capital of India, while already battling a steep rise in coronavirus cases, has observed at least 11 minor earthquakes. The staggering number has not only created panic among people but also, has given rise to unsubstantiated viral claims and speculations about a major earthquake.

The Quint spoke to Dr Kalachand Sain, Scientist & Director, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology to understand if so many minor earthquakes in such a short span of time are unusual and if these are signalling at an imminent bigger one, as claimed by many.

Dr Sain confirmed that minor earthquakes in Delhi are not unusual considering the seismic vulnerability of the region. However, he also explained that earthquakes cannot be predicted.

Why So Many Minor Earthquakes?

“It is not unusual for the Delhi-NCR region to experience tremors. Delhi-NCR region is vulnerable to the occurrence of earthquakes.”
Dr Kalachand Sain

According to Sain, the NCR region has experienced strain energy into the sub-surface and this energy is getting accumulated which makes Delhi-NCR a vulnerable region. He explains that the energy is being accumulated due to two earth plates colliding.

"This is not happening for the first time and... we don't need to worry about minor earthquakes," he adds.

Some experts, in the past, have also spoken about Delhi having a maximum number of seismometers in the country, which, results in more detection of minor tremors.

Is a Major One, Indeed, Impending?

Putting rest to rising speculation, Dr Sain, told us that it is not possible to predict an earthquake anywhere in the world and it can't be said that the minor earthquakes are a signal of the main event.

“When that earthquake will come, how much energy it will release, and at exactly which place – we don’t have any method and technique by which we will be able to predict.”
Dr Kalachand Sain

He, however, agrees that if a bigger earthquake takes place, it would create an alarming situation in the Delhi-NCR region.

HC Asks AAP, Civic Authorities to Share Earthquake Action Plan

The Delhi High Court recently, in the wake of minor earthquakes, asked the AAP government and civic authorities to share an action plan in the event of a major earthquake. The matter will be heard again on 15 June.

The court also asked the authorities to make people aware about the safety measure during any major tremor.

Dr Sain, too, advises precautions and says, "We have to ask the government and civic authorities to strictly impose the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) guidelines."

BIS guidelines are set to ensure earthquake-resistant construction, however, experts believe that many buildings and houses violate BIS norms in NCR region.

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

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