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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. Read the rest of this entry »
In order to understand the impacts of climate change in the regions of the world that are most vulnerable, why not ask the locals? One study did just that by interviewing people in village communities in Darjeeling Hills, West Bengal, India about the changes in weather and water availability that they have experienced firsthand. Interestingly, their findings correlated with scientific data on climate change for that region. The importance of local knowledge to scientific research has been met with scepticism and approval by many researchers, but its role in science as well as policy in many cases is still at an early stage. What makes the Himalayas particularly important is that it is not only one of the regions of the world most vulnerable to climate change, but is also a well-known ‘hotspot’ for biodiversity, and has the highest concentration of glaciers in the world, outside the polar ice caps. Read more