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Earthquake risk: Check which parts of India are in top seismic zone

India Today logo India Today 07-02-2023 India Today Web Desk
Earthquake risk: Check which parts of India are in top seismic zone © Provided by India Today Earthquake risk: Check which parts of India are in top seismic zone

As Turkey and Syria deal with the aftermath of deadly temblors that killed nearly 5,000, a question that comes to mind is 'how prone is India to earthquakes?' According to the government, around 59 per cent of India's land mass is prone to earthquakes of varying intensity. Cities and towns in eight states and Union Territories are in zone-5 and are at risk of earthquakes of the highest intensity. Even the National Capital region is in zone-4, the second-highest category.

Minister of state for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh had informed the Lok Sabha in July 2021 "that considering the recorded history of earthquakes in the country, a total of 59% of the land mass of India is prone to earthquakes of different intensities". He said as per the seismic zoning map of the country, the total area was classified into four seismic zones. 

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Zone 5 is the zone where the most intense earthquakes occur, while the least intense quakes take place in zone 2. Approximately 11% of the country's area falls in Zone 5, 18% in zone 4, 30% in zone 3 and the remaining in zone 2.


The central Himalayan region is one of the most seismically active in the world. In 1905, Kangara was hit by a massive quake.

In 1934, there was a Bihar-Nepal quake, which measured 8.2 and claimed 10,000 people. In 1991, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Uttarkashi killed over 800 people. In 2005, 80,000 people were killed in Kashmir after an earthquake of 7.6 magnitude hit the region.

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There has been tectonic stress in the region for over 700 years that might be released now or after 200 years, studies indicated in 2016. This will have a huge impact on the central Himalayas.

These quakes are a manifestation of the convergence between the Indo-Australian and Asian tectonic plates that has built the Himalayan mountains in the last 50 million years, seismologists believe.


States and UTs with cities and towns in zone 5 are Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Jammu and Kashmir and Andaman & Nicobar.

The National Centre for Seismology is the nodal government agency for monitoring earthquakes in and around the country. Across the country, there is the National Seismological Network, consisting of 115 observatories that keep tabs on seismic activity.

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According to a report, Delhi is located near three active seismic fault lines: Sohna, Mathura and Delhi-Moradabad. Experts say Gurugram is the riskiest area in Delhi-NCR as it is situated on seven fault lines. If these get active, a quake of high intensity is imminent. Such a quake would wreak havoc.

Seismologists say that since Delhi-NCR is close to the Himalayas, it feels the changes that take place in the tectonic plates. Any earthquake in the Himalayan belt affects Delhi-NCR. The Mathura quake (1803) and the one in Bulandshahr (1956) are other major earthquakes in recorded history that happened in the vicinity of Delhi-NCR.

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