New Delhi: As three major earthquakes shake the world in a span of 72 hours, many apprehend some big temblor is due anytime soon.
On Friday (February 13), Delhi and its adjoining areas were hit by a massive jolt measuring 6.3 on Richter scale, with its epicenter in Tajikistan.
Accessing the situation, senior geologists stress upon having a proper disaster management plan to deal with any emergency, as it is not possible to predict quakes.
Starting with a massive undersea quake hitting north of New Zealand on February 11, 2021, which was measured to be of 7.7 magnitude on a Richter scale, prompted a tsunami alert in the region.
The Geological Agency informed that the quake was centered at a depth of 10 kilometers southeast of the Loyalty Islands. Following the quake, the US Tsunami Warning Centre confirmed that a tsunami is likely to strike the coastal areas of New Zealand and Australia.
The next day, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake epicentered in Tajikistan was felt at various locations in North India. The tremors from the quake were felt for more than 30 seconds in the National Capital.
While the world was only gathering information on these two previous quakes, Japan was hit by a 7.1-magnitude quake, which was epicentered near Fukushima. The tremors were felt for over 90 seconds and brought back memories of the 2011 tsunami. Even though no deaths were reported in the earthquake, over 100 were injured.
As per the Japan Meteorological Agency said the earthquake was centered about 60 kilometres (37 miles) beneath the ocean bed.
The tremors were also felt in the capital Tokyo where an intensity scale of 4 was logged, with many reporting that their houses and furniture underwent strong shaking and some saying they felt dizzy because of the quake.
Now as the world stands still the fear of something big approaching grips everyone. Is this the silence before the storm?
Dr. Soumitra Mukherjee, Professor of Geology at Jawaharlal Nehru University asserted that there are changes in the earth before an earthquake, hence the changes can be assessed.
“Before the earthquake in the earth, the natural vegetation either dries up or becomes very green. It can be detected with high resolution through satellites. A normalized differential weighting index can be used. Interferometry is a subject in which it can be detected by remote sensing whether there has been a change of one or two millimeters in height at any place on earth … If it has come then it can be evaluated with the state of the art remote sensing method. But the problem is that this method is not being given as much importance”, Mukherjee said in dialogue with India.com.
Contrary to Mukherjee, AK Shukla, who was the head of the Centre for Semiology and Earthquake Risk Evaluation Centre of the India Meteorology Department had stated that there is no technology to predict earthquakes. “The recent quakes are a warning. We need to have a mitigation plan like having structures that can withstand tremors. Delhi also feels tremors whenever quakes occur in the Himalayas”, he added.
Last year, when the National Capital was hit by multiple earthquakes, IIT Guwahati Director TG Sitharam had said the nearest point from the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) to Delhi is at around 200 kilometres. But there is a possibility of a bigger earthquake of magnitude seven. Nothing can be ruled out. No one can say when that will happen, said Sitharam, who was part of the team that reviewed the NCS’ efforts to conduct seismic microzonation of Delhi.