Nainital, Uttarkashi May also Face Joshimath like Situation

The land is cracking up in a dangerous manner in Uttrakhand’s Joshimath. People are being evacuated from this holy hill town in the Himalayas. According to geological experts, several urban centers like Joshimath, in the foothills of the Himalayas are also facing the danger of similar ground subsidence.

Human activity especially construction without taking into account the geology of the Himalayan region is the major reason behind this land subsidence that Joshimath is experiencing. Erosion due to the incessant rainfall and floods in the recent past has triggered nature’s wrath but the blame should be on human activity, opine experts.

Reactivation of the Main Central Thrust (MCT-2) or the geological fault where the Indian Plate pushes the Eurasian Plate along the Himalayas is the reason behind the sinking of ground in Joshimath.

Geologists were warning governments for two decades regarding it but it was ignored till now, said Dr Bahadur Singh Kotlia, Professor of Geology at Kumaun University.

Geologists warn that like Joshimath Nainital and Uttarkashi may face a similar fate in the future. Powered by the lure of tourism prospects, both these places are seeing a boom in unchecked and unplanned construction.

Nainital is in the Kumaun Lesser Himalaya and a 2016 report indicates that half of the area of the township is covered with debris generated by landslides.

Researchers from Wadia Institute of Geology and Graphic Era Hill University conducted a geological survey of the Nainital area in 2016. The study found that the area mostly comprises limestone with shale and slate which are highly crushed and weathered due to the presence of the Nainital Lake Fault.

So, the recent happenings in Joshimath can replicate in seismic activity-prone Nainital, Uttarkashi, and Champawat. Reactivation of faultlines, increase in population, and construction activities will pose danger for these Himalayan urban centers established on very fragile foundations.


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