Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is India in the ring of fire?


I was just plotting the biggest natural disasters of this decade in the order of number of deaths and a big pattern starts to emerge – it looks like India is in the center of everything. And 3 of these events (Tsunami, Myanmar Cyclone and Kashmir Earthquake) would go into the world’s all-time records in death – An ugly record. And it is not the traditional floods and famines of earlier centuries that took the big lives. The new events - Tsunami, Earthquakes and a lot of factors seem to be pretty new to the subcontinent. I didn’t plot many other relatively smaller events like the historic rainfalls in Mumbai and Bangalore and Chennai that occurred in the middle of this decade and if we started plotting them soon we will fill up the entire space. Maybe all these events are just a coincidence – but as a nation how prepared are we to tackle such big challenges particularly in the wake of what climatic changes and geological plate movements can bring to us.

Gujarat 2001 is in my plot and 1993 is recent in the geological terms J. Deccan plateau historically is one of the stablest regions and I learnt somewhere that it was one of the safest region in terms of Earthquakes (I don’t have any links to backup this hypothesis). So, in our ancient history we didn’t have that much mention of earthquakes. But, the plate below the Deccan (whose pushing into Asian plate gave rise to the Himalayas and also altered the course of three pre-Himalayan rivers from Manasarovar region -  Indus, Brahmaputra and Sutlej) is currently unstable as Himalayas have reached the certain level and it cannot tolerate the Deccan pushing it any more J. So, this plate movement is leading to a lot of things along the fault lines and the Indian ocean Tsunami, Kashmir Earthquake and the quakes in the boundary of Deccan (Bhuj and Lattur). So, we are in for far more disastrous earthquakes. And the climatic changes (due to Global warming or otherwise) could screw up the monsoons big deal. It might be interesting to point out the Sahara desert was not a desert a few thousand years ago, before the monsoon that was bringing it rain changed course. So, if our monsoon changes course there might be different cyclonic patterns and things like Burmese Cyclone or historic rainfalls in rest of India have to be prepared for.

You can start looking from here:

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