The worst earthquake of this century may hit Kashmir valley. Popularly known as the “paradise on earth” and “Switzerland of Asia”, experts warn a magnitude 9 earthquake could shake the region.
Roger Bilham, a well-known earthquake researcher in a paper published in 2013, and a presentation at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco has reportedly said a massive earthquake could hit Kashmir, adding, the earthquake could create a large landslide blocking the Jhelum River which would in turn flood the entire Kashmir valley. “This will create a potential “weapon of mass destruction”, says Bilham.
Bilham speculated that some 300,000 people might die not only because of earthquake but due to some other reasons. “There are a couple of nuclear power plants too. You have two nuclear powers (India and Pakistan) facing each other, armed to the teeth, facing a huge amount of damage,” he has speculated.
He has cited scientific and geological reasons saying the new estimate comes from eight years of GPS readings that shows how the ground is moving at the northern end of the Himalayas.
“These show that the compression of India into Asia slows to a crawl much further north than researchers had previously assumed from looking at the region’s topography. This shifts the estimate of where stress in the region is building to further north, which in turn widens the entire area that might slip in an earthquake,” reads his research paper .
Bilham has said more work is needed to better assess the risk.
Let the good sense prevail and all the stakeholders and authorities start taking the measures to save this beautiful piece of land from another earthquake. Kashmir was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2005 leaving thousands dead and a long trail of agony behind.