India’s eastern most part generating moderate quakes at two different depths: Study
NEW DELHI :
A STUDY done exploring the elastic properties of rocks and seismicity in the eastern most part of the country has found that the area is generating moderate earthquakes at two different depths. Low magnitude earthquakes are concentrated at 1-15 km depth, and slightly higher than 4.0 magnitude earthquakes are mostly generated from 25-35 km depth.
The intermediate-depth is devoid of seismicity and coincides with the zone of fluid/partial melts, said the study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology under the Department of Science and Technology. The crustal thickness in this area varies from 46.7 km beneath the Brahmaputra Valley to about 55 km in the higher elevations of Arunachal Pradesh, with a marginal uplift of the contact that defines the boundary between crust and the mantle technically called the Moho discontinuity. This, in turn, reveals the under-thrusting mechanism of Indian plate in the Tuting-Tidding Suture Zone. The study also indicated the presence of fluid or partial melt at crustal depths at higher parts of the Lohit Valley.
“A study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) exploring the elastic properties of rocks and seismicity in this easternmost part of India revealed that the area is generating moderate earthquakes at two different depths,” a statement said. The exhumation and growth of the Himalaya is a continuous process that results predominantly from reverse faults in which the rocks on the lower surface of a fault plane move under relatively static rocks on the upper surface, a process called under-thrusting of the Indian plate beneath its Eurasian counterpart.
This process keeps modifying the drainage patterns and landforms and is the pivotal reason for causing an immense seismic hazard in the Himalayan mountain belt and adjoining regions, necessitating assessment and characterization of earthquakes in terms of cause, depth and intensity before construction activities are initiated. The Tuting-Tidding Suture Zone (TTSZ) is a major part of the Eastern Himalaya, where the Himalaya takes a sharp southward bend and connects with the Indo-Burma Range.