How Earthquakes Occur?

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, the strongest in 120 years, hit North India and parts of Pakistan on Saturday, October 8, 2005. Tens of thousands were killed and several cities and villages were reduced to rubble. Since 1900, 18 major earthquakes have rocked the Indian Subcontinent.

Warning Signs

Earth quakes are the result of a sudden release of tension inside the planet’s crust. Earthquake prediction is not yet scientifically possible with reasonable accuracy. There are, however, certain warning signs before a major quake. A large quake is almost always preceded by several small quakes. These foreshocks grow in magnitude and are usually in the same area. This area can be forewarned of a possible quake. Another warning sign is changing water levels in deep wells. The water level will lower gradually in the final few months. A few days before the main shock there will be a spurt in the water level. The chemical composition of water also changes significantly. At some places rise in chloride and sulphate is noticed before a quake. As per several researches, anomalies in ground temperature may also be connected with seismic activity. The rise in ground temperatures along the fault lines point towards a possible quake.

Dos and don’ts during and immediately after an earthquake

Try to get out of the building. If you cannot, get under a desk or a sturdy table. Never rush to the roof of the building. If outdoors try to get into an open area, away from trees, buildings and power lines. Do not use elevators during the tremor. If you are driving move the vehicle to the side of the road away from bridges and buildings. Stay inside the vehicle and wait for the shaking to stop.

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