9.0 Mw earthquake a remote possibility in Kashmir Seismic Gap: Prof Bhat

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, May 18: A distinguished Geologist and earthquake expert, Prof G M Bhat today said that possibility of a 9.0 Mw earthquake in Kashmir Seismic Gap was a remote possibility but people should adopt all precautionary measures in advance to avoid deaths and destruction in such eventuality.
He said this while delivering an awareness lecture on the topic “Earth Quake Threat Perception in India-Myth or Reality”, organized by the Department of Students Welfare, University of Jammu, here this morning. The lecture was organized in the backdrop of the recent devastating earthquake that created havoc in the Himalayan region of Nepal.
Through his power point presentation, Prof Bhat dwelt on history of the major earthquakes that occurred in the Himalayas and elsewhere and the intensity of destruction they caused during the past few centuries.
Referring to the claim made by Geologist Roger Bilham, Professor of Geological Sciences (Sesismologist), University of Colorado, that a possible quake of 9.0 Mw magnitudes can hit the Kashmir region in near future, Prof Bhat emphatically said that there were no chances of occurring such a great tremor, which needs a rupture length of 1000-1300 km.
“In this region, the Indian plate is slowly burrowing under the Tibetan plateau. Bilham was looking for where the relative movement of the Tibetan plateau was slowest, as this indicates where compression is building up, and a rupture is eventually likely to occur.
He had expected this to be in the Pir Panjal Range, to the South of the Kashmir valley, but instead it was in the Zanskar Range to the North,” he explained.
Prof Bhat said that ‘Great Earthquake’ is likely to happen every 500 years in this region. “As per the records, the last one occurred in 1555 in the Kashmir seismic gap of the Himalayan range. If this theory is true (Return period of great earthquakes in the region), then we have a perfect length of period at our disposal to get our building structures correct,” he added.