Hiroshima was magnitude 6.32 and Nepal 7.9. So Nepal was a thousand times more powerful. Did you know, Nepal lurched closer to India by 4 metres? By the way, parts of India too slid 4 metres under Nepal. Does that mean our political maps will have to be redrawn? Not as yet. But if this continues… who knows?
Listen to the buzz and beware of India’s seismic destiny. Can you feel the ground beneath your feet shift? The landmass called the Indian subcontinent is restless beneath its skin. It has been flexing, squeezing and crawling northward for the last 50 million years and perhaps at this very minute, at five centimetres a year, as fast as your fingernails grow. With each thrust, invisible to you, it sends shudders of shock waves across the surface of the earth. And when the relentless push meets stubborn resistance, something has to give: an earthquake, or many—small, big, dramatic or deadly. Are you ready?
MORE TO COME
More than 10,000 feared dead and counting. Nepal, in the wake ofthe catastrophic earthquake over the weekend of April 25-26, has been like a scene from hell. Villages and towns, temples and buildings have turned to rubble. Thousands of homeless and destitute, with loved ones lost, are thronging hospital wards or standing in the streets under pelting rain—without food, clothes, medicine, power or phone service. Even as excavation crew work through the wreckage for signs of life, riverbapks are lit up with
funeral pyres. The stench of death hangs over the country.
Monster quakes are waiting in the wings. Scientists say India will not be spared. On April 26, tremors for nearly a minute jolted large swathes of the Gangetic basin—Delhi to Kolkata— and right up to Assam, snuffing out 40 lives, damaging people and property. There have been 57 earthquakes in the past seven days across India and 122 in the past year, reports the India Meteorological Department. But the Nepal shock, say scientists, has been a warning from earth: there’s more to come. But when? Where exactly? How powerful would it be? “This is obviously a big one. But it didn’t create a 10-metre surface rupture,” says seismologist Supriyo Mitra. “That’s what perhaps Delhi will face, with the Himalayas fronting the Capital as the epicentre of an earthquake of magnitude 8 with a 10-metre rupture.” The young scientist at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, was in Nepal just a week before for a conference.
Don’t Go There!: The Travel Detective’s Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World. When journalist Peter Greenberg wrote his handy travel guide in 2008, it became a global bestseller. But there was a crucial sentence in the book: “The geologically unstable Himalayas have been the source of much devastation, and the worst is yet to come.” It wasn’t his personal observation but based on a 2001 research published in the journal Science, conducted by geophysicists from the University of Colorado