Why in News:

In a span of 24 hours, Jammu and Kashmir, along with Ladakh, experienced a series of six weak earthquakes, with the strongest one registering a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale. Additionally, an earthquake measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale was felt in the vicinity of Jammu and Kashmir after the initial tremors. The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) has confirmed the occurrence of several weak earthquakes in the regions of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Details of Recent Tremors:

  • Within a 24-hour period, a series of six weak earthquakes occurred in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • The strongest earthquake recorded a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale.
  • Following the initial tremors, an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.0 on the Richter scale was also felt in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The hilly Ramban district, located along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, was the epicenter of the 3.0 magnitude tremor.
  • The earthquake took place at a depth of 5 kilometers, with latitudes of 33.31 degrees north and 75.19 degrees east.

Explanation of Earthquakes:

  • An earthquake occurs when there is a sudden release of energy within the Earth’s crust, resulting in the shaking of the Earth’s surface. This release of energy generates seismic waves, commonly known as S waves, and the intensity and characteristics of an earthquake depend on the seismic activities in a specific region.
  • Earthquakes are caused by sudden tectonic movements within the Earth’s crust.
  • The Earth’s crust is divided into large tectonic plates that float on the semi-fluid layer called the asthenosphere.
  • Tectonic plates are constantly in motion, and interactions such as divergent, convergent, and transform boundaries can lead to earthquakes. The strongest and most catastrophic earthquakes often occur near convergent boundaries where two plates meet or slide past one another.
  • Subduction, a process where one tectonic plate is forced beneath another along a convergent boundary, can create immense pressure and friction, leading to the cracking and slipping of rocks near the plate borders.
  • The rapid release of stored energy during these movements results in an earthquake and the propagation of seismic waves.

Seismograph and Richter Scale:

  • A seismograph is an instrument used to measure and record earthquake details such as duration, force, and direction.
  • It consists of a pen attached to it, which vibrates along with the earthquake’s vibrations when an earthquake occurs. The pen records the movements of vibrations on a moving strip of paper, providing an estimate of the earthquake’s direction and force, as well as calculating the time difference between the arrival of P and S waves.
  • The intensity of an earthquake is measured on the Richter scale, which ranges from 1 to 9. Earthquakes measuring above 6 on the Richter scale can cause significant damage to life and property.

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