Signs of past Nepal earthquakes studied

Dec. 17, 2012 at 7:54 PM

KATHMANDU, Nepal, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- An ancient earthquake that killed the king of Nepal, thought to have occurred deep underground, actually ruptured the Earth's surface, researchers say.

Although massive quakes have often hit the region, with four tremors of at least magnitude 7.8 in the 20th century, none were believed to have broken the Earth's surface, but new research has shown two -- the 1255 quake that killed King Abhaya Malla and a 1934 earthquake -- left visible evidence on the land.

Signs of these past ruptures were suggested by old aerial photos of the region and confirmed during field trips.

This concrete evidence of past earthquakes, researchers said, will improve predictions of what hazards people in the area -- the population density in some parts of the Himalayas region is similar to that of New York City -- might face in the future.

"Researchers will now be better able to judge earthquake risks in the area," researcher Laurent Bollinger, a seismologist at France's Commissariat on Atomic Energy, told OurAmazingPlanet.com.

The research has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending News
Test predicts teen risk factor for cardiovascular disease
Gene therapy effective against form of inherited vision loss
Foot of new human ancestor, Homo naledi, resembles our own
NASA releases thousands of Apollo mission photos on Flickr
Study: European austerity to blame for rise in male suicide