[Answered] Explain how the movement of tectonic plates can lead to earthquakes. Use the Morocco earthquake as a case study. What lessons can India learn from this for its disaster management strategies?

Introduction: Give context of the question.

Body: How does tectonic plates affect the earthquakes? What lessons can India learn from disaster management strategies?

Conclusion: Way forward.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck Morocco with its epicentre located in the Al-Haouz province, in the Atlas Mountains of the historic city of Marrakech. Reports have pointed out that earthquake was a shallow-earthquakes which are generally more dangerous as they carry more energy when they emerge to the surface when compared to quakes that occur deeper underneath the surface. While deeper quakes do indeed spread farther as seismic waves move radially upwards to the surface, they lose energy while traveling greater distances.

How do tectonic plates lead to earthquakes?

  • Convergent boundaries: Shallow quakes in Morocco occur due to the northward convergence of the African plate concerning the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary. The intense pressure and friction at subduction zones can cause rocks to deform and store energy.
  • Oblique-reverse faulting: Shallow quakes also occur due to oblique-reverse faulting at shallow depths within the Moroccan High Atlas Mountain range. This type of faulting is common in areas like Morocco when one tectonic plate is converging into another.
  • Accumulation of Stress: As tectonic plates interact at these boundaries, they may get stuck due to friction, irregularities in the fault plane, or other factors. This impedes their continuous movement, causing stress to accumulate along the faults.

What lessons can India learn from its disaster management strategies?

  • Seismic Assessment: India must continue to invest in and update its seismic hazard assessment. Accurate and up-to-date information about the seismic risk in different regions is crucial for informed decision-making, building code updates, and disaster preparedness planning.
  • Early Warning Systems: India should invest in early warning systems for earthquakes. These systems can provide valuable seconds to minutes of warning, allowing people to take cover and critical infrastructure to shut down, reducing casualties and damage.
  • Cooperation with other nations: Earthquakes don’t respect national borders. India can collaborate with neighbouring countries in the Himalayan region to share information and coordinate response efforts, especially for larger earthquakes that may affect multiple nations.
  • Post-disaster efforts: Effective long-term recovery plans are essential for rebuilding communities and infrastructure. Collaborative efforts between government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are critical for effective disaster management. NGOs often play a significant role in providing relief and support to affected communities.

Conclusion:

India must take note of such disasters in other parts of the world & must be better prepared to mitigate the impact of quakes. The Himalayan region of 2500-km stretch from the Hindu Kush mountains to the end of Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most dangerous seismic zones in the world which requires preparedness and resilience-building as top priority for India.

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