The Indian subcontinent has a history of devastating earthquakes. The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal has shaken the nation of Nepal and its neighbouring countries where the death toll continues to rise after it hit on 25 April, 2015. The quake destroyed homes and centuries-old temples.
India is very prone to earthquakes as well. The major reason for the high frequency and intensity of the earthquakes is that the Indian plate is driving into Asia at a rate of approximately 47 mm/year. As per the Geographical statistics, almost 54% of the land in India is vulnerable to earthquakes.
According to the estimates shown by a World Bank and United Nations report; around 200 million city dwellers in India will be exposed to storms and earthquakes by 2050.
The latest version of the seismic zoning map of India assigns four levels of seismicity for India in terms of zone factors, which means India is divided into 4 seismic zones:
Zone 5 is highly prone to the earthquake with the highest level of seismicity whereas Zone 2 is associated with the lowest level of seismicity. So, the Zones – marked two to five -indicate areas most likely to experience tremors with five being the most vulnerable.
Indian cities, ranging from the metros to the smaller cities – all at least once have been shaken up due to earthquakes which usually range from medium to high intensity on the Richter scale.
With some research we present you the top 10 Indian cities which are observed as high earthquake prone zones:
1. Guwahati – Assam
Guwahati falls in zone five of the seismic zones in India which is highly prone to earthquakes. The place has seen some of the deadliest earthquakes and even today small tremors are a common situation. Guwahati receives earthquake predictions on a daily basis; resulting which many adjoining areas in the North-East get affected.
2. Srinagar – Jammu and Kashmir
This capital city of Jammu and Kashmir also comes under Seismic Zone 5.
Most parts of the Kashmir Valley, which is around 11% of the area of the state covering the Districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar, come under Seismic Zone 5, where around 50% of the population of the state lives. The rest of the state, including the whole of the Ladakh region and Jammu Division (90% of the total area of the state), are under the Seismic Zone 4.
Being very close to the Himalayas, Srinagar faces heavy risk of earthquakes, high as well as moderate. The friction between the Indian and the Eurasian plane causes earthquakes to occur on the areas close to the Himalayas.
Delhi is categorised under Seismic Zone 4.
Delhi has been hit by five devastating earthquakes measuring higher than magnitude of 5 since 1720. The most prone to earthquake neighbourhoods in Delhi lie about two miles on either side of the Yamuna river, the southwestern outskirts of the city known as the Chhattarpur basin, as well as an area popularly known as The Ridge in Delhi
4. Mumbai – Maharashtra
Mumbai falls in the Zone 4 of the seismic zone divisions which makes it quite vulnerable to damage.
We all know Mumbai is located on the coastal line, which increases the risk of facing tsunami-like disasters. Mild to strong earthquakes are very common in parts of Mumbai. Mild earthquakes are often faced by people living there and parts of the adjoining regions of Gujarat. It should be noted that for the last 20 years, almost all of the buildings in Mumbai have been designed and built keeping in mind that the city falls in seismic zone 4.
5. Chennai – Tamil Nadu
The city, formerly in the comfort Zone 2, has now shifted to Zone 3 – indicating higher seismic activity. According to the seismic mapping , districts in the western part along the border with Kerala are also in Zone 3, along with districts along the border of Andhra Pradesh and a section of the border with Karnataka.
The status of Chennai along with major towns on the eastern coast in terms of vulnerability has increased especially after Chennai experienced tremors in September 2001 following a quake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale off the Pondicherry coast.
Tamil Nadu, had faced the wrath of the deadly 2004 tsunami when the Marina beach was affected.
Recently, in the year 2012, Chennai shook terribly due to a rather high intensity earthquake (having its epicentre in the Indian Ocean).
The other 5 cities in right order of chronology are:
6. Pune – Maharashtra
7. Kochi – Kerala
8. Kolkata – West Bengal
9. Thiruvananthapuram – Kerala
10. Patna – Bihar