The devastating earthquake that originated in Nepal on Saturday may have been the strongest to hit the central Himalayan region in the last 80 years, but scientists say this was not the big one that they had been fearing would strike the area.
At 7.9 on the Richter scale, releasing energy “equivalent to about 100mn tonnes of TNT”, Saturday’s earthquake was second only to the 8.3-magnitude earthquake that had struck the Bihar-Nepal region on January 15, 1934. The eastern end of the Himalayan region, on the Arunachal Pradesh-China border, had been hit by a 8.5-magnitude earthquake on August 15, 1950.
After that, the region has seen much smaller earthquakes, the biggest being the one in Chamoli, Uttarakhand in 1999 that had caused widespread damage. In 2011, the Sikkim-Nepal border also was hit by a 6.8-magnitude earthquake.