Giant earthquake building up under Bangladesh, warn scientists!

Due to lack of historical data, geologists cannot predict the exact timing of the quake, however, they claim that it can reach up to a magnitude between 8.2 and 9.

By Udita Madan | Last Updated: Jul 12, 2016, 21:01 PM IST
Giant earthquake building up under Bangladesh, warn scientists!

New Delhi: The most densely populated country in the world, Bangladesh, apparently has a huge calamity growing under it, which could strike immediately or can even take its own sweet time and hit approximately in about 500 years.

And when it does, it could affect at least 140 million people in the region.

We're talking about an Earthquake. If scientists are to be believed, the evidence of a slowly building-up earthquake has been discovered right below Bangladesh.

Due to lack of historical data, geologists cannot predict the exact timing of the quake, however, they claim that it can reach up to a magnitude between 8.2 and 9.

As per Science Alert, lead researcher Michael Steckler from Columbia University says that, “We don't know how long it will take to build up steam, because we don't know how long it was since the last one. We can't say it's imminent or another 500 years. But we can definitely see it building.”

As per the report in Science Alert, the newly identified threat is the result of 13 years of surface monitoring in the region, which is where the Indian and Sunda tectonic plates meet. Although scientists knew that there was tension between the plates before, they had assumed they were just sliding alongside each other horizontally - which can cause minor earthquakes.

However, after mapping surface activity for 10 years, that is from 2003 – 2013, through ground and satellite GPS monitors, the international team of researchers has revealed that Bangladesh is actually sitting on a huge subduction zone - which means the Indian plate is actually thrusting underneath the Sunda plate at a rate of 17 millimetres (two-thirds of an inch) a year.

This is the first subduction zone discovered underneath land and the data show at least 250 kilometres of an area running right underneath Dhaka, building up with stress for the past 400 years without any release.

According to Science Alert, the scientists predict that if all the pressure of the subduction zone was released at once - the worst-case scenario - it could cause the land to jump horizontally between 5 and 30 metres (18 and 100 feet).

And seeing as the subduction zone is located under the world's largest river delta - a muddy region where the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers meet the sea - the researchers that the quake could turn the whole area into quicksand.

However, to get more clarity on this, more research would be required for the scientists to collect proper data.

The research has been published in Nature Geoscience.