Dehradun based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India conducted a study exploring the elastic properties of rock and seismicity in the Arunachal Pradesh’s Himalayas.

The study was conducted with the objective of carrying out a detailed assessment of seismicity in this region that will be helpful for planning any largescale construction in this region in the future. Tuting-Tidding Suture Zone (TTSZ), a major part of the Eastern Himalaya, has gained strategic importance in recent times and the government plans to introduce road construction and hydropower projects in the coming future.

The study revealed that the region is generating moderate earthquakes at two different depths. Low magnitude earthquakes are concentrated at 1-15 km depth, and slightly higher greater than 4.0 magnitude earthquakes are mostly generated from 25-35 km depth. These earthquakes have a frequency from 0.004 to35 Hz according to local earthquake data. The samples were taken by the Global Positioning System at 20 per second. The crustal thickness of the region differs from 55 km in the altitude of Arunachal to 46.7 km beneath the Brahmaputra valley.

The growth of Himalayas is a continuous process that is created by the collision between the tectonic plates. This collision changes the drainage patterns and landforms and is also a major reason to cause seismic hazards in the Himalayan belt. As a result, characterization and analysis of the earthquakes before initiating any mega construction activity is undertaken.

The study was published in the ‘Journal of Asian Earth Sciences’. The team of scientists led by Dr. Devajit Hazarika conducted the study along Lohit River Valley of Arunachal Himalayan by installing 11 broadband seismic stations.

(By: Krishna Singh)

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