A 6.9 magnitude earthquake in the Himalayas has severely damaged a number of areas including parts of India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, killing over 100 people. The epicentre of the quake at the border of Taplejung, Nepal and Sikkim in northern India produced destructive shaking throughout the region. Most news reports have been focusing on the death toll of the hazard and rescue efforts, along with mentioning of landslides caused by the earthquake. Landslides have blocked emergency services who need to move the debris in order to gain access. A short video clip of debris being moved from a landslide caused by the quake is available here.
It is likely that Kathmandu could be struck by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the future and this recent quake has been seen as a forewarning by some researchers. The Agence France-Presse (AFP) spoke with Director of IHRR Prof Dave Petley about the possibility of a large magnitude earthquake impacting Nepal:
“The main area of concern is in central and west Nepal, where there has not been a large earthquake for a long period,” Petley told AFP after Sunday’s 6.9-magnitude quake damaged hundreds of homes in the east of the country.
“This is an earthquake-prone area, so this suggests that there is a large amount of energy stored,” he said.
“The building stock [in Kathmandu] is not seismically strengthened, suggesting that in a big earthquake there will be large numbers of building collapses.”