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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Karnataka Disaster Management Authority allays fears over repeated tremors in Vijayapura, Kalaburagi

KSDMA has attributed the tremors to a post-monsoon phenomenon called hydro-seismicity and says they are unlikely to cascade into a devastating earthquake

Written by Aksheev Thakur | Bengaluru |
October 15, 2021 7:02:57 pm
In hydro-seismicity, water from heavy rainfall enters small fractures in rocks and causes pressure within them | Representational image

The Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has attributed the repeated tremors experienced in Vijayapura and Kalaburagi districts between September 4 and October 11 to a phenomenon called hydro-seismicity. It said preliminary observations by geologists indicate that micro tremors of the kind seen in the region normally occur during the post-monsoon period after a heavy rainfall.

In hydro-seismicity, water from heavy rainfall enters small fractures in rocks and causes pressure within them. It is described as one of the major reasons for earthquake swarms in peninsular India.

KSDMA Commissioner Manoj Rajan told The Indian Express that they have asked the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) to take up a detailed analysis of the micro tremors. NGRI is sending a team of scientists to these regions in the next two days to study the field conditions.

“Within crustal volumes having fracture permeability, a natural increase in hydraulic head is caused by transient increases in stress due to the elevation of the water table in recharge areas of groundwater basins and can be transmitted down to depths of 10-20 km, thereby triggering micro tremors and sounds… These are due to shallow earthquakes that generate high-frequency surface waves. This type of seismic activity is very common and nothing to worry about, since it may not cascade into a large devastating earthquake,” Rajan explained.

He also added that disaster management officials have been deployed in Kalaburagi and Vijayapura for confidence-building measures. Fearing a devastating earthquake, many people in Sedam, Chincholi, Kalagi and other taluks of Kalaburagi had started sleeping outdoors.

“As of now, the situation is not worrying. Our officials are on the ground allaying fears of the communities and they are also conducting awareness programmes to apprise them of the dos and don’ts in case of any eventuality,” Rajan stated.

Of the 51 earthquakes recorded in Karnataka since 2010, as many as 17 have occurred in the last one month, mostly in Vijayapura and Kalaburagi districts. The latest one was on Thursday evening at Vijayapura and measured 3.2 on the Richter scale.

On October 12, a 3.5-magnitude earthquake shook several taluks in Kalaburgi and was reported to be the sixth tremor to have hit the district since October 1. Two earthquakes were reported in Basavakalyan on October 1 and 5 and four in Kalaburagi on October 9, 11 and 12.

An official from the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) said the intensity of the earthquake observed is low and there is nothing to panic. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai also held an emergency meeting with KSNDMC officials to assess the situation.

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