PerspectiveEARTHQUAKES

Himalayan Seismic Hazard

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Science  24 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5534, pp. 1442-1444
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062584

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  • RE: Nepal Earthquake and Seismic Hazard in Himalayas
    • Irfan Mahmood, Research Associate, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
    • Other Contributors:
      • Muhammad Farooq Iqbal, Assistant Professor, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
      • Muhammad Imran Shahzad, Assistant Professor, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology

    Himalaya has been hit by several major earthquakes in past three decades with the three major in Nepal in 2015. Recent earthquake in Nepal of magnitude 7.8 Mw on April 25th, 2015 caused more than 8000 deaths and significant infrastructure damages. This earthquake was followed by major aftershocks of magnitudes 6.7 Mw and 7.3 Mw on April 26th and May 12th respectively. The earthquake was result of slip along the Main Himalayan Thrust. It indicates that the strain which has progressively accumulated along the Himalayan belt due to Indian-Eurasian collision has not been fully released, making other areas along Himalaya vulnerable to serious seismic hazard. Moreover, major densely populated cities of Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan are located on or near to Himalayan arc and any major future earthquake in the region can cause serious loss of life. It is worth noting that no major earthquake has occurred in recent past along the eastern Himalayas. This leads to a very high probability of a mega earthquake with magnitude greater than 8.0 Mw. The region is densely populated and probable future earthquake will cause substantial damages to life and infrastructure. Hence, there is an urgent need to properly assess the seismic hazards and geometry of faults in these regions. This will help to develop new codes for sustainable infrastructure and ecology of the region.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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