Joe Hendren

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

If you are looking for India - it has moved

It is now nearly 3 months since the tragic wave stuck Asia, a Tsunami caused by a massive earthquake in the Indian ocean.

An Indian seismologist, Dr Vineet Gahlart says India is now up to 5 metres closer to Indonesia than it was before the December 26 earthquake. The earthquake moved the entire country to the east, apart from a few smaller islands that sit on top of a different Tectonic plate. In terms of land area, India is the seventh largest country in the world, excluding Antarctica and the EU as a block. Of course this should be no a great surprise given the theory of plate tectonics, but it does not hurt to keep a sense of wonder.

Following a one month geological survey, Dr Gahlart said the geographic distance between India and Indonesia has been reduced by between 15mm and 5 metres, depending on the closeness of different areas to the epicentre of the quake.

More worryingly, Dr Gahlart also said the earthquake increased the chances of another big quake in the region, as the Jan 26 earthquake had increased stress on the fault system separating India and Indonesia. While I do not wish another earthquake on Asia by any stretch of the imagination, I hope that the pressure between the plates can be released by a series of small insignificant earthquakes, instead of another huge quake in a few years. Another big quake in the region, so soon after the last, would only pile catastrophe on top of disaster.

PS: Tectonic is a word I usually confuse with Teutonic - I need to keep reminding myself that Teutonic plate was worn by eastern European knights long ago, and a tectonic plate is something quite different!

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