2005 Kashmir earthquake
Gaur, Vinod K. Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India.
- Tectonics of earthquakes surrounding the Indian plate and within the Indian subcontinent
- New understanding and implications
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The October 8, 2005 Kashmir earthquake was the second major event with moment magnitude (Mw) ∼7.6 within 5 years to have rocked the west Indian continent and the third since 1935. Each of these events exacted a heavy toll on life and property with 35,000 dead in 1935, 20,000 in 2001, and 75,000 in 2005, leaving many more homeless and destitute. These earthquakes occurred in a specific tectonic context of the Indian plate, although powered by the same process—its approximately 2 m per century north-eastward penetration into the Tibetan plate whose elevation and bulk is sustained by the dynamics of the collision process. To the north, the collision results in massive thrust earthquakes along the Himalayas as India slides beneath Tibet. The indentation of the Indian plate into Asia results in earthquakes along its eastern and western flanks that separate it from the Asian plate by broad zones of horizontal and compressional tectonics similar to fault systems that prevail in California. To the west-southwest, the submarine plate boundary consists of a simple oceanic fracture zone between the Indian plate and the Arabian plate, and to the southeast an oceanic apron of heavier rocks dives obliquely beneath southeast Asia and the modest Andaman plate (Fig. 1). In December 2004, almost the entire southeast plate boundary ruptured in a 1600-km-long magnitude 9.2 earthquake, creating giant tsunamis that struck the Indian ocean shores and killed more than 300,000 people, raising the fatality count of the three twenty-first century Indian earthquakes far above the total of all historical events.
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