Nepal could be at a risk of another major earthquake, warned a study conducted by researches in the UK.
A massive underground faultline that ruptured in April last year is still under tremendous strain underneath Kathmandu, reports The Guardian based on a study led by John Elliott of Oxford University and published on Monday.
The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
John Elliott of Oxford University said the rupture, shooting upward through the faultline from deep below, stopped abruptly 11km (6.8 miles) beneath the Nepalese capital, leaving an unbroken upper portion nearer the surface.
Referring to high-resolution satellite images, Elliott’s team suggested that “only a small amount of the earthquake reached the surface” and that the unbroken upper part of the fault “is continuously building up more pressure over time”.
Elliot issued a press statement on Monday to inform about his team’s study. The statement further said, “As this part of the fault is nearer the surface, the future rupture of this upper portion has the potential for a much greater impact on Kathmandu if it were to break in one go in a similar-sized event to that of April 2015.”
The study is the second and latest to warn of risk of another major quake in Nepal’s Gorkha district following the April 25, 2015 quake. The first such warning was made by a study published in the same journal in August last year, which said that last year’s tremors had only partially relieved stress on the length of the faultline, and said chances for a big tremor were as high as before.
“Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting precisely when another earthquake will take place,” Elliot said.
“It’s simply a case of countries and cities making sure they are well prepared for when it does happen.”
This meant another major tremor could happen in an area home to more than 1 million people within years or decades rather than the centuries that typically elapse between quakes, researchers wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.