Earthquake prediction impossible, says NSC chief

After the 7.6 magnitude devastating Gorkha earthquake last year, several researches have warned of the risk of another major quake in Nepal.

In a recent such research, the UK-based Nature Geosciences journal published an article yesterday, saying, “Up to 7.3 magnitude’s earthquake could break the unruptured region to the south and west of Kathmandu. “

But National Seismological Centre has urged people not to panic. Chief of the centre Lok Bijaya Adhikari said, “Energy has been locked in western Nepal for 500 years and this energy is stored between Kathmandu and the Chure range,” he told The Himalayan Times, “But earthquake prediction is simply impossible.”

According to Department of Mines and Geology, there is no possibility of a major earthquake in Kathmandu Valley anytime soon. “The locked energy is not active.

So there is no possibility of a major earthquake soon,” said Dr Som Nath Sapkota, deputy director general at the department. “The unruptured region could break only if there is a strong earthquake in the nearby areas.” He said the predictions were made based on the interpretations of researchers.

The report is based on records of surface motions to show that no aseismic slip occurred on the ruptured fault plane in the six months immediately following the earthquake.

“We find that although 70 mm of afterslip occurred locally north of the rupture, fewer than 25mm of afterslip occurred in a narrow zone to the south.

Rapid initial afterslip north of the rupture was largely complete in six months, releasing aseismic-moment equivalent to a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.”

Historical earthquakes in 1803, 1833, 1905 and 1947 also failed to rupture the Himalayan frontal faults, and were not followed by large earthquakes to their south, says the report, adding, this implied that a significant relict heterogeneous strain prevails throughout the Main Himalayan Thrust.

Source: THT