US experts warned about Nepal quake

Washington : US experts had warned for decades that Nepal was vulnerable to a quake that may take thousands of lives, media reported.

A massive block of Earth’s crust, roughly 120.7 km (75 miles) long and 37 miles wide, lurched 10 feet to the south on Saturday over the course of 30 seconds and riding atop this block of the planet was the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu and millions of Nepalese, said Roger Bilham, a world-renowned expert on Himalayan earthquakes.

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The University of Colorado geologist said the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that flattened historic buildings in Kathmandu and has taken more than 2,400 lives is the latest release of built-up strain from the collision of two of Earth’s tectonic plates, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.

The Indian plate is inexorably sliding — in a halting, ground-shaking fashion — northward, beneath the much larger Eurasian plate and the process has created the lofty Tibetan plateau and pushed up mountains that reach nearly 30,000 feet above sea level.

The Himalaya front can produce much larger and powerful earthquakes than the one on Saturday but this one was relatively shallow, which intensifies the surface shaking, and its epicentre was closer to Kathmandu than the 1934 temblor.

Kathmandu has always been high on the list of cities most vulnerable to a catastrophic earthquake.

Geology, urbanisation, architecture and building codes have increased the vulnerability of the Nepalese, experts say, and the only major unknown thing was the timing of the disaster, the report said.