• Friday, Sep 30, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:24 am

Experts: Tremors in Sylhet might hint at bigger quakes

  • Published at 05:59 am May 29th, 2021
Representational image Bigstock

One of the tremors was of magnitude 4.1 on the Richter scale

Four successive mild earthquakes have shaken Sylhet, leaving people panicking and running out into the streets to avoid any casualties. Experts say it could be a warning sign of a major earthquake.

Md Momenul Islam, a meteorologist of Bangladesh Meteorological Department's Dhaka office, said the epicentre of the earthquake was Sylhet.

“The initial tremor at 10:36am recorded magnitude 3 on the Richter scale, followed by the aftershocks of 4.1 magnitude at 10:50am, 2.8 magnitude at 11:30am, and 4 magnitude at 1:58pm,” added the meteorologist.

However, locals claim they felt more tremors. Also, there was an earthquake 

There were no reports of serious injuries or damage to infrastructure, said Humayun Karnain, a senior station officer with the Sylhet Fire Service.

Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (Sust) Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineerin Dr Zaheer bin Alam said the four consecutive earthquakes in Sylhet on Saturday might be a warning signal. 

He said it could be due to climate change or due to plate shifting. 

“However, we need to be alert about the possibility of a major earthquake in the next four or five days. Residents of high-rise buildings should be more alert,” he added.

Also Read- Sylhet tremors: 25 risky buildings, markets shut down for 10 days

He also advised the City Corporation to make announcements in this regard.

Mominul Islam, in-charge of the Agargaon Earth Observatory, said an earthquake caused aftershocks and foreshocks. It was, he noted, a good thing that stored energy was being released through a few tremors.

He said Sylhet was at risk of earthquakes. Sylhet is located in the plate boundary area near the Dauki Fault.

Saeed Ahmad Chowdhury, chief meteorologist at the Sylhet Meteorological Office, said the epicenter of Saturday's quake was in and around Sylhet city. Due to this, more tremors had been felt in Sylhet city.

Danger signal for Sylhet

Saeed Ahmad Chowdhury said that the last time an earthquake originated at Srimangal in Sylhet was on July 18, 1918 when a magnitude 7.6 earthquake shook the region.

Also Read: 5.3 magnitude earthquake strikes Nepal

Experts say that in earthquake prone areas, earthquakes occur more after every 100 years. Meteorologists fear that a strong earthquake in the Dauki Fault could cause huge damage in the Sylhet region.

Between January and April 2020, two consecutive earthquakes originated in the Gowainghat area near the Dauki Fault in Sylhet, known as the “Danger Zone.” 

Meteorologist Saeed Ahmed Chowdhury further said that earthquakes usually occur in this region along the India-Bangladesh border and Myanmar-Bangladesh border.

But the epicenter of Saturday's quake was in and around Sylhet.

Professor Humayun Akhtar, a researcher at the Earth Observatory, a joint research institute of Columbia University in the US and Dhaka University, mentions In his research model that Bangladesh is positioned on the junction of three moving plates, Indian, Eurasian and Burmese.

In his research, he has shown that a huge amount of energy is stored in the topography of Bangladesh on both sides under the ground, enough to cause strong earthquakes.

Also Read: Sundarbans, its wildlife suffer aftermath of Cyclone Yaas

One is in the Dauki Fault in the Sylhet region in the northeast corner, the other is in the hilly region of the Chittagong Tripura Belt in the east. The expert said that two major earthquakes were on the verge of occurring in Bangladesh.

Past earthquakes in Sylhet

A magnitude 6 earthquake was felt at 8:21 am on April 28 this year. The epicentre was reported at Dekhiyajuli in Assam's Sonitpur district.

Three earthquakes were felt in 2020 - a magnitude 4.4 on November 3, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on June 22 and a magnitude 5.1 earthquake on June 21 in that year were also felt.

History has it that in 1548, a massive earthquake caused a huge landslide in the Sylhet area. The rough land became flat. Then in the earthquakes of 1642, 1663, 1812 and 1869 the map of Sylhet changed considerably.

The earthquake that struck Sylhet at around 5:15pm on June 12, 1897 is known as the “Great Indian Earth Quake.” The 8.7 magnitude earthquake caused extensive damage to buildings in about 375,550 square kilometers of area. 

In Sylhet district alone, 545 buildings collapsed and a large number of people died. As a result of that earthquake, huge haors, beels and reservoirs were created all over Sylhet. 

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