Disasters Current Affairs

New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger earthquakes in future: study

According to scientists, a new plate boundary may be forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in Wharton Basin as a result of the 2012 earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region.

The discovery was based on the study of seismic data recorded before, during and after the 2012 quakes and sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard a research vessel.

Key Facts
  • Scientists created a high-resolution imagery of the sea floor by using data which unveiled deformations that had occurred on the tsunamilgIndo-Australian Plate.
  • It showed that the plate had broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone due to 2012 earthquakes, resulting in a new plate boundary and likely to be the site of future fault-slip earthquakes.
  • The analysis showed a new fault system had developed in the area off the coast of Sumatra that was involved in the 2012 earthquakes. The new fault system can trigger more quakes in the future.
  • Slip-strike earthquake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. As a result, earthquake causes deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.
  • These earthquakes can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.
  • This similar scenario is believed to happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean which was the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

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Tropical Cyclonic Storm Vardah to hit Andhra Pradesh

The tropical cyclonic storm Vardah over southeast Bay of Bengal is expected to hit Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Kakinada. It is the third cyclonic storm of the season after Cyclone Kyant and Nada, that were formed during the Northeast Monsoon season.

Formation

It was created as depression (low pressure) over Andaman Sea and later slightly intensified further as cyclonic storm. The reason for the intensification can be attributed to warm sea surface temperatures of Bay of Bengal and longer sea travel. Since then, the tropical cyclonic storm Vardah has moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 10 kmph about 990 km southeast of Visakhapatnam and 250 km west-northwest of Port Blair.

Intensification

The system is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm. However, there is possibility of slight weakening of the system before landfall. It may result into moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy falls over coastal Andhra Pradesh. Squally winds speed reaching 35-45 kmph gusting to 55 kmph would prevail over Andaman and Nicobar Islands & adjoining sea areas for some time. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off Andaman Islands and off Andhra Pradesh coast and adjoining sea areas.

vardah

 

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