In 1993 there was a severe earthquake in Latur in Maharashtra.
It was followed by Chamoli in Uttaranchal and the most devastating one on 26th January, 2001 in Kutch in Gujarat. A few days before this there was a severe one in El Salvador. Some days after the Gujarat quake there was one in Kobe in Japan. There were tremors in Afghanistan Bangalore, Assam, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and many parts of Himalayan region.
The worst quake was in Kolkata in 1737.3 lakhs people were killed. 1000 people were killed in Srinagar in 1828. Indo- Nepal border quake took a toll of 10,700. In 1950 Assam quake took the lives of 1530 people. There may be a million quakes a year. But they are much below the sea and earth surface. The energy released by a sizeable earthquake is near about 10,000 times more than the Hiroshima atom bomb.
Earth’s surface consists of seven large rigid plates. There are an equal number of small plates. These plates move slowly past one another. The motion stretches rocks at the edge of the plates. If the force is great the rocks break and shift this cause an earthquake. The breaks are known as faults. The place where the faults occur is known as epicenter. The energy released in a quake travels away in the form of waves. These are known as “seismic waves “. Seismic waves pass through the earth in 21 minutes.
The quakes can be measured on the Richter scale. Each number on the scale represents an intensity of ten times more than the previous number. Thus intensity of quake measuring on 7 is ten times more than that of measuring 6.
The focus of the most of the earthquakes is less than 40 kms under the Earth’s surface. Some may occur 640 kms below. Prediction of a quake depends on two systems – the devices that record small movements along a fault. The other may be measuring the speed of the seismic waves. These require more research to have an exact system.
The Maharashtra earthquake of 1993 was in Latur. In five termors 30,000 people were killed and an-equal number injured. In Gujarat earthquake also 20,000 people were killed. At both the places of large number of NRIs, individuals and humanitarian organizations came to the rescue of the people. As usual RSS people were the first to help extricate dead bodies from the debris. 15000 troops did yeoman’s service in providing food and water. In Chamoli region of Garhwal in Uttaranchal too the scenario was the same. It was only three and a half months later that the Indian Community living in Los Angeles in USA suffered from devastating earthquake that took no lives but was responsible for a great loss of property.
“The Indian plate, which is one of the fastest moving plates in the world, moving about five and half centimeters every year is steadily moving northward towards the Himalayas and parts of it are already lent under the great range of mountains. The plate is getting push form Karsberg ridge in the Arabian sea.” It might have caused the earthquake. In India 30 national laboratories have instruments which are four generations behind and so cannot have any effective monitoring. Compared to China our equipment is simply very old. To improve the equipments require only Rs. 10 crore. In 1975 China used the new system and evacuated a large area before the earthquake occurred. At least now when we have entered the new millennium let the people and the governments have more consciousness to work out means and ways to check such calamities.