Nepal | May 29, 2020

West Nepal quake risk still high: Researchers

Agence France Presse
Share Now:

PARIS, August 7

Large quakes in Nepal this year only partially relieved stress on a major Himalayan fault line, and chances for a big tremor are as high as before, researchers said yesterday.

Jean-Philippe Avouac of the University of Cambridge, who co-authored studies published simultaneously in the journals Nature Geoscience and Science, said there was enough “strain available to drive a large earthquake in western Nepal”.

“This was the case before the Gorkha earthquake and it hasn’t changed significantly with the Gorkha earthquake,” he told AFP by email, adding the risk for another quake was “definitively not lower” — though also not significantly higher.

The Gorkha district was near the epicentre of a 7.6 Richter tremor on April 25, the worst in Nepal in more than 80 years, followed on May 12 by a 6.9 Richter aftershock.

The twin quakes killed more than 8,900 people, triggered landslides and destroyed half a million homes, leaving thousands in need of food, clean water and shelter.

Nepal rests on a major fault line between two tectonic plates — one which bears India pushing north and east at a rate of about two centimetres per year against the other, which carries Europe and Asia.

This process along the Main Himalayan Thrust fault is what created the Himalaya mountain range, and causes earthquakes when strain built up along the fault gives way periodically, thrusting the overlying landmass up and outward.

In the recent disaster, an area some 150 km long and 50 km wide gave in after decades of pressure.

Experts calculated that the capital Kathmandu shifted more than 1.5 metres southwards, and was raised by nearly a metre. Mount Everest was estimated to have moved three centimetres to the southwest.

The April 25 quake started northwest of Kathmandu, and propagated eastward along the fault for about 140 km, running underneath the

city but not reaching the land surface. The pressure “unzipped” another “few tens of kilometres east” in the aftershock.

The fault had remained “locked” for 20 years without any release of stress, said the Nature Geoscience paper. And the 2015 quakes transferred unreleased pressure into western and shallower parts of the Earth’s crust. “The locked portion of the MHT west of the 2015 event calls for special attention,” it cautioned — noting a 800-kilometre-long stretch where there had been no large quake for over 500 years.

Avouac added, “We will have at some point a large earthquake in western Nepal, but the probability of it happening on Friday is not significantly larger than it was before the Gorkha quake.”

A version of this article appears in print on August 08, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Cases registered against two lockdown violators in Udayapur

GAIGHAT: Police have registered cases against two youths who were arrested on Tuesday for violating lockdown in Udayapur district. The arrested have been identified as Surendra Gupta and Rakesh Sah, both in their 30s. Lalpatta-based police post arrested the duo after they were found bringing t Read More...

Police recover two muzzle-loader guns in Kohalpur

NEPALGUNJ: Armed Police Force personnel recovered two abandoned muzzle-loader guns in Kohalpur Municipality-8 in Banke district, today. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shyam Kumar Karki said that they recovered the weapons along with ammunition, shrapnel shells, and other items under Sikta Read More...

Chaurjahari Incident: Body of fifth youth found on Thursday; one still missing

JAJARKOT: The body of the fifth victim of Chaurjahari incident, where Dalit youth Nawaraj BK and his friends were attacked by the villagers in Soti of Rukum West on Saturday, was found today in the banks of Bheri River. With the recovery of Sandeep BK's body from Kalabhir of Chinchu-Jajarkot road Read More...

Rautahat locals clash with police in quarantine dispute; police open dozen blank fires

RAUTAHAT: Tensions ran high at Katahariya Municipality in Rautahat district after police opened a dozen rounds of blank fire to take situation under control as the locals protested against setting up a quarantine in the area and clashed with security forces, on Thursday. At least six police perso Read More...

Finance Minister presents budget of Rs 1,474.64 billion for FY 2020-21

KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada presented a budget of Rs 1,474.64 billion for the Fiscal Year 2020/2021 in the joint session of the House of Representatives and National Assembly here today, with a major focus on reviving the economy following the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. The g Read More...

India Coronavirus

Virus cases jump again in South Korea, India

SEOUL: South Korea on Thursday reported its biggest jump in coronavirus cases in more than 50 days, a resurgence that health officials warn is getting harder to track and risks erasing some of the nation’s hard-won gains. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 67 of the 79 ne Read More...

Nepal Electricity Authority

1300 MW electricity to be added to the national grid

KATHMANDU: The government is all set to add 1,300-MW electricity to the national power grid of the country within the next fiscal year. A goal has been set to complete all the ongoing hydropower projects and expedite the under-construction projects in the country. The government is planning to Read More...