Earthquake spares relatively less in western hill districts

  • Expert says seismic waves weakened due to rocky geological structure
- ISHWORI NEUPANE, Pokhara
Earthquake spares relatively less in western hill districts

Jun 3, 2015-

Districts located in the west of Barpak, the epicentre of the April 25 earthquake, remain safe though the quake claimed over 8,500 lives and destroyed thousands of houses in the eastern side.

Sindhupalchok, Kavre, Kathmandu Valley, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Dhading and Rasuwa, among other districts, were hit hardest by the quake but Lamjung, Tanahun and Kaski witnessed no such destruction.

As a result mud-and-brick houses built as early as 1930s in Pokhara are intact. Many locals say they are surprised to find that the quake made no such impact in the western region even though they are closer to the epicentre in comparison to districts such as Sindhupalchok and Kavre.

Besides Gorkha, there were not much casualties, both human and physical, in the western districts, including the tourist hub of Pokhara.

Lamjung, that borders Gorkha, witnessed five deaths whereas Kaski lost three lives due to the Great Quake. Tanahun, meanwhile, recorded no human casualty. The districts to the east from Gorkha, however, witnessed huge human and physical casualties in the earthquake.

Stating that there was not much destruction in districts across the Marsyangdi river that flows from the western border of Gorkha in the past as well, geologist Prof Bishwa Shrestha said the area might have been spared by the quake due to the bedrock. He said the land of Pokhara does not have high risk of liquefaction as it is made up of conglomerate rock. “This area has remained safe due to its geological structure. There is no record of great destruction by earthquake in this area,” Shrestha said.

Structural engineer Govinda Lamichhane, the dean at Pokhara University, said the quake did not have much damage in the area as the seismic waves weakened due to its rocky structure. “The infrastructure did not collapse as they swayed with the rock under them in synchronous manner. The infrastructures had grip to stay intact with the rock,” he said.

Lamichhane said there was much destruction in the eastern part for the epicentre owing to the liquefaction of the land. He said Pokhara area is also earthquake prone but there is seismic gap as the rock saves energy. However, he warned that the saved seismic energy could burst any time.

Published: 04-06-2015 07:42

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