Earthquake Hazard

Though the State is prone to numerous hazard as narrated in the foregoing paras but earthquake hazard poses the serious challenge for the State. Hence, this aspect is dealt separately in detail in the succeeding paras.

The state of HP is located at 33.3-36.0 degree North latitude and 75.6-79.0 degree East longitude in the Western Himalayas. Seismically it lies in the great Alpine- Himalayan seismic belt running from Alps mountains through Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma. The terrain is hilly all through the state of HP, the ranges varying from the Shivaliks in the south to the tall snow clad Pirpanjals in the North. These are traversed by major rivers Sutlej, Beas, Ravi and other tributaries. The state has not only been shaken by earthquake occurring in its territory but also in the neighboring areas of J&K in the North, Tibet in the East and UP hills in the South East. A number of damaging earthquakes have occurred in the HP territory during 20th century for which information is well recorded. Information about earthquake occurrence before the famous 1905 Kangra earthquake is not, however, available and is a matter of research through historical and archival records.

The earthquake activity in HP is attributed to the Himalayan orogeny. Based on the latest concept of plate tectonic model of the earth, the Himalayan mountains have formed due to continuous threshing of the Indian plate with Eurasian plate since cretaceous times. The present geological structure and the tectonics of the Himalayas have been formed as a result of this continued collision. There are regional- tectonic features in the Himalayas like the main boundary fault (MBF) and Main Central Thrust (MCT) remaining parallel to the strike length of Himalayas. Besides, the Krol, the Giri, Jutogh and Nahan thrusts lie in this region. Besides that there are scores of smaller faults, like the Kaurik Fault which triggered the 1975 Kinnaur earthquake.

pdfEarthquake Hazard Vulnerability