Monday, August 01, 2016

Bangladesh: Hidden fault could trigger major quake

[CNN] The Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers are critically important, life-giving rivers for hundreds of millions of people living in India and Bangladesh. But the millions of tons of sediment that pile up in the delta region of these rivers, a large portion of Bangladesh, could be hiding the biggest natural disaster the region has ever seen.
According to recently released research from a team of scientists led by Dr. Michael Steckler from Columbia University, buried under miles of sediment lies a locked and loaded megathrust fault that could unleash an earthquake up to 9.0 magnitude in one of the most densely populated regions of the world.
Megathrust faults produce biggest quakes
Megathrust faults occur at subduction zones, where Earth's tectonic plates are colliding with each other and one plate is moving (or "subducting") under another. These faults produce the largest earthquakes, reaching and even exceeding 9.0 magnitude, with recent examples being the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, as well as the 2004 Banda Aceh earthquake and resulting Indian Ocean tsunami.
A vast majority of these megathrust faults and their resulting earthquakes occur under the ocean, which is why they can unleash tsunamis. It is rare to find these types of faults under land, and even more rare -- and potentially catastrophic -- to have one directly underneath such a major population center. The study indicates that more than 140 million people live within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of this fault in Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. Read More