Why does Delhi and its neighbors experience earthquakes?

Following the quake of magnitude 6.4 that jolted Nepal, Delhi-NCR residents experienced tremors for the third time in a month. However, why does the nation’s capital experience tremors with such regularity? Proceed reading.

Fear-stricken, inhabitants of Delhi and the environs were compelled to evacuate their dwellings on Friday night in response to a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck Nepal. Tremors were detected in Delhi for the third time within a month, sparking speculation regarding the cause of the recurring occurrences in the nation’s capital.

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) are situated in Zone IV, which, according to the seismic zoning map of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), is a high seismic risk zone. A greater probability of encountering seismic events characterized by moderate to high levels of intensity is associated with Zone IV.

Why does Delhi fall within Zone IV and become susceptible to frequent thunderstorms?
The primary reasons for this classification are the geographical location of Delhi and its geological activities. Situated in close proximity to the Himalayan ranges, approximately 200-300 kilometers, is the national capital.

As a result of the ongoing collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, the Himalayas were created. Constant tectonic activity generates recurrent tremors, which render the area an epicenter for recurrent natural disasters such as landslides and earthquakes.

The displacement of tectonic plates in the uppermost stratum of the Earth’s crust is the typical origin of tremors. Therefore, the greater the activity in this layer, the greater the likelihood of an earthquake. The primary factor contributing to the seismic risk in the area is its close proximity to the Himalayan tectonic plate boundary, where the Eurasian plate meets the Indian plate.

The substantial seismic activity in northern India, including Delhi and its environs, can be attributed to the collision. Although Delhi does not occupy a location along a major fault line, its proximity to the Himalayas places it in a seismically active area.

Therefore, Nepal, Uttarakhand, and the surrounding Himalayan area are vulnerable to catastrophic seismic activity exceeding a magnitude 8.5 on the Richter Scale. One contributing factor to Delhi’s classification in Zone IV is its close proximity to the Himalayas, whereas the Himalayan region is situated in Zone V, which carries the most severe seismic risk.

One-of-a-kind settlement design

The vulnerability is further compounded by the distinctive settlement pattern observed in Delhi and the National Capital Region, in addition to geological factors. Expansive informal settlements and enormous skyscrapers are distinguishing features of the area.

Seismic-prone zones are concentrated along the banks of the Yamuna and Hindon rivers, where a significant number of multi-story buildings are situated. Unauthorized colonies along the riverbanks and even portions of Old Delhi contribute to this vulnerability.

Future occurrences of a significant earthquake in the region have been cautioned by authorities. A major earthquake in Delhi could have severe repercussions due to the city’s dense population, deteriorating infrastructure, and substandard building practices in certain areas of the nation’s capital.

It is essential to note, nevertheless, that earthquakes are intricate and challenging to precisely predict. Although professionals have the ability to evaluate the seismic risk in a given area and issue advisories and warnings, the precise timing and intensity of forthcoming earthquakes continue to be unknown.

In order to mitigate the risks associated with seismic activity, the government and local authorities have been working to update building codes, retrofit critical infrastructure, and improve earthquake preparedness.

“Necessary Routine Mock Drills”

In order to educate the public about what to do in the event of a natural disaster, former special CEO of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Kuldeep Singh Gangar believes that more disaster simulated drills should be conducted on a regular basis.

“Despite Delhi being perpetually threatened by a significant earthquake, our level of preparedness remains inadequate. Drills simulating disaster management should be an everyday occurrence in order to educate the public in the event that a natural catastrophe strikes. “In order to combat such emergencies, disaster-specific forces should be established,” Gangar told indiatoday.in.