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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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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)