Quake fault straining underneath Kathmandu

2016-01-11 20:03
AP

AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - A massive underground fault line which ruptured last year, causing a killer earthquake in Nepal, is still under tremendous strain underneath Kathmandu, a study said on Monday.

This meant another major tremor could happen in an area home to more than a million people within years or decades rather than the centuries that typically elapse between quakes, researchers wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Lead author John Elliott of Oxford University said the rupture, shooting upward through the fault line from deep below, stopped abruptly 11km beneath the Nepalese capital, leaving an unbroken, upper portion nearer the surface.

High-resolution satellite images revealed that "only a small amount of the earthquake reached the surface," he said in a press statement.

The unbroken upper part of the fault, added Elliott, "is continuously building up more pressure over time.

"As this part of the fault is nearer the surface, the future rupture of this upper portion has the potential for a much greater impact on Kathmandu if it were to break in one go in a similar-sized event to that of April 2015."

Nepal rests on a major fault line between two tectonic plates. One bears India, and pushes north and east at a rate of about two centimetres per year against the other, which carries Europe and Asia.

This process created the Himalaya mountain range, and causes earthquakes when strain built up along the fault gives way periodically, thrusting the overlying landmass up and outward.

The study is the latest to warn of the risk of another major quake around Nepal's Gorkha district, near the epicentre of a 7.8-magnitude tremor on April 25 - the worst in Nepal in more than 80 years. It was followed on May 12 by a 7.3-strong aftershock.

A study in the same journal warned just five months ago that last year's tremors had only partially relieved stress on the length of the fault line, and said chances for a big tremor were as high as before.

The twin quakes killed more than 8 700 people, triggered landslides and destroyed half a million homes, leaving hundreds of thousands in need of food, clean water and shelter.

"Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting precisely when another earthquake will take place," Elliot added.

"It's simply a case of countries and cities making sure they are well prepared for when it does happen."

Read more on:    nature geoscience  |  nepal  |  earthquakes

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.