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Experts say Manipur and Nepal earthquake not connected

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Kolkata:The destructive Manipur earthquake on Monday that rocked other northeastern states and neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan is not linked to Nepal’s earthquake April 25, experts have asserted. 

At least six people were killed and more than 50 injured when an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale hit Manipur and its neighbouring states in the northeast and east India.

Reports of more death and devastation continue to trickle in, serving as a haunting reminder of the April 25 killer quake in the Himalayan nation, measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale, that claimed over 8,000 lives.

However, seismologists and geologists have quashed rumours of the Manipur earthquake being an after-effect of the Nepal temblor.

“It is not connected to the Nepal earthquake,” clarified R Dharuman of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), adding a GSI team will be sent out to map the region and launch studies on the temblor.

Manipur is situated in seismic zone V, the most earthquake prone area in the country.

The temblor occurred as the result of a strike-slip faulting (vertical or nearly vertical fractures where the blocks have mostly moved horizontally) in the boundary region between India and the Eurasian plate in southeast Asia, according to the USGS.

The Indian Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake was in Tamenglong region of Manipur state at a depth of 17 kilometers (about 10 miles).

Allaying fears, B K Rastogi, former director general of Gandhinagar-based Institute of Seismological Research (ISR) said this earthquake is “not an indicator or precursor to a larger earthquake” in the near future.

“However, monitoring is essential. The (Indo-Myanmar) region is full of faults and many active faults are there. Monitoring and enforcement are totally missing in India. The government has to ensure monitoring and enforcement of rules while adherence to building codes must be maintained to minimise losses,” Rastogi said.

India’s northeast region is considered the world’s sixth most earthquake-prone belt.

The region has a history of powerful earthquakes caused by the northward collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates. They are moving towards each other at a rate of 4-5 cm per year.

Data from Manipur’s National Institute of Disaster Management shows that earthquakes of low to moderate intensity are regularly recorded in the state.

The state has weathered dozens of large earthquakes, the biggest in recent times being the 1988 temblor measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale.

The distinguishing feature of Monday’s quake is its duration, pointed out Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati’s Chandan Mahanta.

Factoring in the vulnerabilities, site-specific building codes must be followed, Mahanta iterated.

“The thing that causes damage is the material on which the buildings are standing. Generally, the soil magnifies the seismic waves more so there will be more acceleration and on rocks, it is sometimes less.

“In Manipur, there are some areas where there must be soil and rocks in others. The impact also depends on the number of storeys of the building. Short buildings are vulnerable in rocky foundations and tall buildings are fine on rocky foundations. Similarly, tall buildings are vulnerable in soil foundations,” added Mahanta.(IANS)

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Dalai Lama on Three Day Visit to Manipur

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Dalai Lama will be in Manipur on Tuesday. ians

Imphal, October 16: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will arrive here on Tuesday on a three-day visit to Manipur, officials said.

This will be his second trip to India’s northeast after his April visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told IANS on Monday that the government had declared the Dalai Lama a state guest.

“We will extend a warm welcome to him. He will be given all facilities as an honoured guest,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Dalai Lama will be given a public reception at the Convention Centre here. It will be followed by a felicitation programme at the same venue.

The Dalai Lama will interact with members of the public and dignitaries.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since fleeing his homeland in 1959, is coming to Manipur at the invitation of the Speaker of the Manipur Assembly.

His Arunachal Pradesh visit had sparked a diplomatic row between India and China.(IANS)

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Researchers Suggest Studying Aquifer Water Levels in the Himalayas to Predict an Earthquake

Whenever earthquakes occur, widespread cracks and deformations on the earth's surface are common, resulting in changes in groundwater levels, believe researchers

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Can water levels in the foothills of Himalayas forewarn about earthquakes? The blinking red light on a seismograph shows the epicentre of an earthquake. (representational image) Wikimedia

Bengaluru, October 16, 2017 : Continuous monitoring of water levels in the foothills of the Himalayas can warn about an impending earthquake in the region, which is due for a major temblor.

This recommendation to the Ministry of Earth Sciences has come from Ramesh Singh, professor of environmental sciences at California’s Chapman University, who is also president of the Natural Hazards Group of the American Geological Union.

Singh says the utility of monitoring the water levels of underground aquifers for predicting earthquakes in quake-prone regions has been confirmed from analysis of water level data in a bore hole collected during the earthquake that rocked Nepal’s Gorkha district on April 25, 2015.

The findings of the study carried out by Singh and three seismologists from China have recently been published in the journal Techtonophysics.

The Gorkha quake, one of the deadliest in Nepal, killed about 5,000 people mainly in Nepal, a few in bordering India, two in Bangladesh and one in China, and injured about 9,200 people.

Whenever earthquakes occur, widespread cracks and deformations on the earth’s surface are common, resulting in changes in groundwater levels, Singh told this correspondent in an email.

In China, many parameters are being monitored in water wells, including water level, water temperature, and water radon concentrations to detect any signal prior to an impending earthquake.

According to the scientists, due to seismic wave propagation, the volume of an aquifer expands and contracts, forming fractures that change the water flow in a bore well sunk into the aquifer.

In the case of the Gorkha quake, the scientists considered the water level in a bore well — called “Jingle” well — atop an aquifer in China’s Shanxi province, 2,769 kilometres from the temblor’s epicenter. The data was analysed soon after the Nepal earthquake.

A “spectrum analysis” of the co-seismic response of the bore hole water level showed large amplitude oscillations with a maximum peak-to-peak value of about 1.75 metres associated with ground vibrations generated by the earthquake, says their report.

In addition, the analysis revealed the arrival of a possible precursor wave at the “Jingle” well about 6.5 hours prior to the actual occurrence.

ALSO READ Indian Seismologist Arun Bapat had Predicted China Earthquake on August 8

“The study of co-seismic changes in groundwater has emerged as an important research area which can provide an improved understanding of earthquake processes and corresponding changes in surface and subsurface parameters,” Singh said.

Water level data in close proximity to the epicenter may be of great importance in getting early warning signals of an impending earthquake, he said. China and the United States routinely monitor aquifer water levels at 15-minute intervals.

In the light of the finding, Singh said that “India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences may consider deploying water level sensors in the Himalayan foothills areas, which may provide valuable information about an impending earthquake in the Himalayan region, which is due for a major earthquake.”

Such data, he added, “is also useful in understanding the dynamic nature of the Indian plate”.

However Arun Bapat, former head of Earthquake Engineering Research at the Central Water and Power Research Station in Pune, says he has some reservations about the study’s conclusion that water level changes observed in the bore hole were the warning signal for the Gorkha earthquake.

“Various effects associated with a large earthquake (Magnitude 7.5 or more) such as electrical, magnetic, geological, tectonic, hydraulic, radioactivity, etc., have been observed within about 600 to 800 km from the epicenter (but not beyond),” Bapat told IANS.

Bapat said the magnitude of the Gorkha quake was about 6.5 to 6.75 which is considered as moderate. “The effect of this quake on water level changes at a distance of 2,769 kilometres from its epicenter is almost not possible.” (IANS)

 

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Over 200 Killed As 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Mexico City

The earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985

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People evacuated from office buildings gather in Reforma Avenue after an earthquake in Mexico City, Sept. 19, 2017. VOA

Mexico, September 20, 2017 :  A powerful earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck Mexico city, leaving more than 200 people dead and many trapped under the collapsed buildings. At about 2.15 p.m. (local time) on Tuesday, the earthquake shook central Mexico, its epicenter was 4.5 km east-northeast of San Juan Raboso and 55 km south-southwest of the city of Puebla, in Puebla state.

“We are facing a new national emergency,” said Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, in his first televised address following the earthquake.

The earthquake was felt far and wide. In Mexico City, there were power outages and more than 40 buildings collapsed crushing cars and trapping people inside.

Dozens of buildings collapsed or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of nearby states also.

Thousands of soldiers, rescuers and civilians — including college students — in Mexico City clawed through the rubble with picks, shovels and their bare hands. Windows buckled and shattered, falling several stories to the ground while thousands of people streamed into the streets running away from buildings and potential gas leaks.

People struggled to get home when power poles that toppled in the quake blocked the streets and the public transportation system temporarily shut down operations. Nearly 5 million customers were still without power early Wednesday.

The earthquake came less than two weeks after a massive 8.1-magnitude quake hit the country on September 7 and killed nearly 100.

The earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. Just hours before the quake hit, many people took part in drills and commemorative events.

All public and private schools in Mexico City and some of the states affected by the earthquake will remain closed until further notice, Education Minister Aurelio Nuño tweeted.

Foreign leaders sent messages of support to Mexico. US President Donald Trump, who has courted controversy with his plans for a border wall with Mexico, tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted his support following the “devastating news”.

 

(IANS)