DISCIPLINE BY DISCIPLINE:
On January 26, 2001, a deadly magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Bhuj, in northwestern India, killing over 19,000 people. Other regions of India may be in store for far worse. In the August 24, 2001, issue of Science, seismologists Roger Bilham and Vinod Gaur warn that several lines of geophysical evidence point toward one or more impending earthquakes in the Himalayan region of India.
A January 26, 2001, an earthquake causes extensive damage to buildings in Bhuj, located in northwestern India near the epicenter of the quake. The earthquake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale and killed over 19,000 people (AP Photo/Saurabh Das).
The Bhuj earthquake was unique in that it took place in the stable center of a tectonic plate. In contrast, most earthquakes occur along plate boundaries where slabs of crust interact with each other. The plate boundary between India and Eurasia is particularly earthquake prone. For the past 50 million years the Indian subcontinent has been colliding with the Eurasian tectonic plate, pushing up the Himalayas, and building up pressure and strain. In this region strain is not released gradually, but rather, in large violent earthquakes. Some areas of the Himalayas have been