New Delhi: As a major 6.3 earthquake jolted neighbouring Pakistan on Tuesday, the tremors were felt in nearby Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab, and up to the National Capital Region.
While the exact scale of damage and loss of life was not fully known, it has raised concerns in Jammu and Kashmir, which was closer to the epicentre and had experienced its deadliest quake of 7.6 magnitude in October 2005.
The Indian subcontinent has suffered some of the deadliest earthquakes globally with more than 60% of its land area prone to shaking of intensity VII and above on the MMI scale, a seismic intensity scale.
In fact, the entire Himalayan belt is considered prone to earthquakes exceeding 8.0 magnitude, with Jammu and Kashmir among the most susceptible. The region lies on the boundary, where the small Indian plate that underlies most of India and Pakistan and the vast Eurasian tectonic plates that comprises Europe, Russia and most of Middle East, collide.
So far in September, as many as 24 low- to moderate-intensity quakes have been reported in India, of which at least eight were in the J&K region bordering Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. The epicentre of the earthquake that shook Pakistan at 4.31pm on Tuesday was in the India-Pakistan border region, barely 129km away from Jammu and 200km from Amritsar in Punjab, according to the India Meteorological Department. The depth of the quake was 10km into the ground.
There are over 66 active faults of regional extent in India, with the Himalayan belt, extending for 2,400km itself dissected by 15 major active faults. The Indo-Gangetic and Brahmaputra Plains have 16 tectonically active faults, while Peninsular India is marked with around 30 neo-tectonic faults. There are also some hidden faults which have not been clearly identified.