A Giant ‘megathrust’ fault is discovered in the Earth’s crust under Bangladesh which is the most densely populated part of the globe. An earthquake made from this fault can wipe out ten millions of people in this region, scientists have claimed. The scientist’s team, led by Dr Michael Steckler from Columbia University published their findings in the journal Nature.
Researchers placed hundreds of highly accurate GPS receivers in locations across Bangladesh, India and Myanmar and monitored them over a ten year period.
And now the scientists fear the location is home to a megathrust fault which could unleash a 9.0 magnitude earthquake at any minute.
The experts discovered that millions of tonnes of sediment from the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers have been dumped into the megathrust fault, where one of the earth’s plates is being pushed under another.
This type of fault can create large-scale earthquakes and was responsible for the 2004 Indian Ocean disaster which almost wiped out Banda Aceh as well as the 2011 Japanese earthquake. Both of these incidents resulted in massive Tsunami waves as the epicentre was far out to sea.
However, the newly discovered megathrust fault has massive numbers of people living in close proximity. Many of whom are packed into poorly designed and constructed buildings. According to Dr Steckler, more than 140 million people live within 60 miles of the fault.
The researchers cannot predict when the earthquake will strike, but Dr Steckler said governments in the region should be ‘building more earthquake resistant structures’ while improving ‘planning to cope with relief and supplies for the people after an earthquake’.