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�Forecasts of quake rocking NE unscientific�

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, Jan 9 - Renowned earthquake engineer Prof Sarada Sarma has rubbished the reports that forecast earthquakes of the magnitude of 8 or above on the Richter scale hitting the NE region of India as unscientific.

However, he has laid stress on the need to remain extra alert to face the hazard of massive earthquakes, considering the vulnerability of the region to such natural phenomena.

Prof Sarma, presently a Professor Emeritus of the Imperial College, London, is known for the two methods, named as Sarma Methods, which were developed in 1973 and 1979, for analysing stability of slopes, both for use in seismic as well as in static conditions.

The attention of Prof Sarma was drawn to the recent prediction made by some quarters, referring to an �assertion� made by the experts of the Union Home Ministry that earthquakes of the magnitude of 8 or above are going to hit the NE region.

In reply, Prof Sarma said, �I really do not understand what these people are talking about. How do they know that a tectonic plate is broken? When an earthquake happens, two tectonic plates, get separated. Or, rather, when the two tectonic plates get separated suddenly, that is when an earthquake occurs. These are not broken plates. Anyway, what they are saying is rubbish.�

He also maintained that there may occur one or two or more earthquakes in the future, but they cannot be linked to the latest earthquake that shook the NE region on January 4, 2016.

While countering the argument that the January 4, 2016 earthquake was a foreshock indicating the making of a massive earthquake in the region, he said that the NE region does not have any history of any foreshocks indicating any of its massive earthquakes in the offing. �If I remember correctly, the Assam earthquakes do not have such history but of course there are plenty of histories of aftershocks,� he said.

However, he said, irrespective of the proclamations made by any quarter, the best thing to face a massive earthquake is to remain ever alert.

It needs mention here that a section of New Delhi-based print media had reported on January 6, 2016 that the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), in an assessment following the Nepal quake, has warned of enhanced risk around the �ring of fire garlanding the entire north India especially the mountains�.

The report quoted the Ministry of Home Affairs� (MHA�s) disaster management experts as saying that quakes with a higher intensity than the one which struck Manipur on January4, 2016 are likely to hit the Himalayan region in future.

The recent earthquakes � January 4, 2016 Manipur, April 26, Nepal and September 18, 2011 Sikkim,� that measured between 6.7 and 7.8 in the Richter scale, have re-split the tectonic plates that had developed cracks due to previous incidents, said the report carried by this section of the print media.

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