The 1934 earthquake was epicentre in eastern Nepal, and killed at least 16,000 people in Nepal and India. Historical records show that a temblor of that magnitude hits Nepal at least once every 100 years, while smaller quakes are more frequent.
“2015 was not a mega earthquake, it is still due,” warns Surya Narayan Shrestha, Executive Director of the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET).
He adds that there is a large seismic gap in western Nepal where there has not been a big earthquake since 1505, meaning that so much tectonic energy has accumulated that the region is overdue for a disaster of more than 8 magnitude.
The Indian Plate is converging towards the Eurasian Plate at an average rate of 25mm a year, which is what makes Nepal and the region an active seismic zone.
“We have been lucky that we haven’t had a mega-quake yet in the seismic gap between Pokhara all the way to Dadeldhura but this also means we could witness the biggest one yet given the stress accumulated,” says Anil Pokhrel, Chief Executive of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA).
“In fact, it will be catastrophic,” Pokhrel earns. “The 1505 earthquake killed one-third of Nepal’s population even back then.”