Shaky revelations

Published: Monday 15 April 1996

Tehri dam: a boon or a curse?< (Credit: Pradip Saha / CSE)WILL it quake or will it not? That is the topic being hotly debated by seismologists and environmentalists regarding the Tehri dam project in Tehri Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh (up). The latest in the row is a startling finding by a group of scientists of the Roorkee University, up, who say that the dam would prevent future earthquakes in the Garhwal region. They have also concluded that the devastating Uttarkashi earthquake of 1991 could have been prevented had the dam been there. Several scientists and environmentalists had earlier predicted major earthquakes in the region if the dam came up.

The studies have pinpointed the origin of the next great quake at a spot close to where the reservoir load will be at its maximum, in case the dam is built. The huge body of water acts like a load on the fault lines numbing the pre-shocks that could lead to the big quake. Thus, the reservoir, if built, would delay or arrest the next great quake.

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