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Earthquakes may not kill people directly; the immense loss of life and property takes place mainly because of the collapse of buildings and other constructions. The unique geographical location of the Indian subcontinent bordered by the Himalayan belt (which is part of the Tethys geosyncline) between the Gondwanaland and Laurasian plate is held to be responsible for the unstable geological nature of the Indian subcontinent in general.

According to the scientists of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology the frequent earthquakes in the Himalayas can be attributed to the northward movement of the Indian landmass for last 80 million years. Such northward plate movement builds up stress and releases itself as energy from the earth’s interiors.

The recent instances of earthquakes at Jabalpur and Killary suggest that the frequency of earthquake has shifted from quake-prone areas to the so-called stable landmasses. Although some scientists attribute such earthquakes to reservoirs, others believe the root cause of earthquakes to lie in the unique geological structure of the country.

Geologically the country is formed of several sequences of rock units, in which a vast region of peninsular India display the most ancient Archaean rocks. Geologists are still not clear whether the Indian subcontinent is made up of smaller plates merged together or there is a single ‘massive block dissected by faults, joints or lineations.

Since the Archaean rock strata dates back to 2.5 billion years, it forms the base rock over which other rock layers exist. Since the base rock is not visible, it is not subject to study and analysis regarding its physical and chemical status.

Due to continued denudation, the Himalayas are also rising to maintain equilibrium. On the other hand, sediments regularly accumulated in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea put an enormous load on the oceanfloor. This phenomenon, in turn, is believed to exert pressure on the mainland too. The oceanic ridges and other complex structural features of the Indian Ocean may also have influenced the neighbouring landmass in a significant manner.

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