Massive earthquake may hit the country

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

A massive earthquake may hit Bangladesh, Eastern India and some parts of Myanmar. A research estimates that at least 140 million people in the region spanning around 24,000 square kilometers could be affected due to the earthquake.

A team of researchers from US, Singapore and Bangladesh revealed that at a research conducted over around 12 years. The research was published in Nature Geoscience scientific journal.

The earthquake might be larger than 8.2, and could reach a magnitude of 9 on the Richter Scale as one section of earth’s crust, or tectonic plate, is slowly thrusting under another, according to the research.

Researchers led by geologist Michael Steckler of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University conducted the research by monitoring GPS tracking stations across Bangladesh from 2003 to 2014.

The research, however, was unsure as to when the earthquake might hit.

“We can’t say it’s imminent or another 500 years. But we can definitely see it building,” Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory website quoted lead author Michael Steckler as saying.

“Some of us have long suspected this hazard, but we didn’t have the data and a model. Now we have the data and a model, and we can estimate the size.” Steckler added.

He also said Bangladesh is underprepared for such a huge magnitude of disaster as the building safety code is often flouted here.

Disaster response might be a herculean task as the country is a densely populated one, Steckler added.

Member of the research team and Dhaka University’s geology department teacher Syed Humayun Akhter said given Bangladesh's geological formation based on the silation of the rivers Ganges and Brahmaputr, it was prone to eathquakes which may also lead to flooding

Secretary general of Bangladesh Earthquake Society and professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Mehedi Ahmed Ansari, however, partly disagreed with the research.

The research referred to a fault line passing across the middle of Bangladesh. No big earthquake happened on this fault line, he said.

Referring to another research published in December 2015 by Global Earthquake Model, Mehedi Ahmed said, there is a 25 kilometer fault line in Bhutan. An earthquake of 8 to 9 magnitude might hit in that region anytime.

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