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'In Buryar language Baikal is called Baigal-nuur'
Marc Di Duca

Is a potentially catastrophic earthquake on the way in Siberia?

By The Siberian Times reporter
11 February 2015

Dozens of major tremors recorded this year as scientists monitor 'unusually strong seismic activity' that will one day tear continent in half.

Each year the shores of Lake Baikal move further apart by about 5mm, and there is a theory that the rift will eventually split the land mass in 650 million years’ time. Picture: Timur Dugarzhapov 

Scientists are predicting a catastrophic earthquake in Siberia that could cause widespread devastation following a wave of unusual seismic activity.

More than 50 major tremors have been registered around the north of Lake Baikal this year, varying in magnitude from 3.0 to 5.0 on the Richter Scale.

Experts from around the world have been monitoring the situation, with some saying the whole Baikal rift zone – which covers a massive territory including the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia – is going through a phase of rising tectonic activity.

This can happen every 50 to 60 years and a quake now could potentially have a disastrous impact on towns and cities as well as large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the Far East pipeline and the Baikal-Amur Mainline, in eastern Siberia.

Some scientists speculate that the constant seismic activity will eventually, in some 650 million years, lead to the Eurasian land mass being torn in two at Baikal.

Baikal rift zone

More than 50 major tremors have been registered around the north of Lake Baikal this year, varying in magnitude from 3.0 to 5.0 on the Richter Scale. Picture: Baikal Branch of Geophysical Service, Russian Academy of Science 

Gennady Tatkov, the director of the Geological Institute, of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: 'The previous cycle of the Baikal rift’s seismic activity was in the middle of the 20th century.

'There was a long pause, and then an earthquake measuring a grade of nine on the European Macroseismic Scale was registered on April 5, 1950, with the epicentre near the village of Mondy in the Eastern Sayan mountains

'The next earthquake shook an area in north Buryatia close to the villages of Muya and Ust-Muyawhich that were earlier considered to be near aseismic. That was a level 11 quake.

'And the Severomuiskoe earthquake resulted in the Udokan mountain ridge growing by 1.5metres and shifting northeast by 1.2 metres.'

Baikal Rift


Baikal Rift

View on the Udokan mountain ridge (top). Entrance into the Severomuysky Railroad Tunnel, the largest in Russia (bottom). Pictures: Dmitry Shevtsov, Russian Railways

Other major earthquakes during the 1950s included one measuring the second-highest level of 11 on the European Macroseismic Scale at Gobi-Altai Province in Mongolia.

During that event, in December 1957, the mountain range rose by more than eight metres and led to the creation of a very rare natural phenomenon called the Tormkhon formation - a stone 'wave' ten metres high. 

In 2008 a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale, further south in China's Sichuan province, resulted in the formation of more than 30 lakes in mountain valleys.

The same period of seismic activity also caused tremors at Lake Baikal with one measuring a seven on the European Macroseismic Scale.

Many scientists believe the constant activity will eventually lead to the entire Eurasia continent being ripped in half, as part of the so-called Wilson cycle that sees land breaking as a result of riftogenesis.

Baikal Rift

In December 1957, the mountain range rose by more than eight metres and led to the creation of a natural phenomenon called the Tormkhon formation. Picture: Vladimir Solonenko

The Baikal Rift Zone is already one giant continental crack that stretches 2,500km from Northern Mongolia to Southern Yakutia and reaches towards the Arctic Ocean.

Each year the shores of Lake Baikal move further apart by about 5mm, and there is a theory that the rift will eventually split the land mass in 650 million years’ time.

One of the most recent major earthquakes in the region took place in December 2011 in the Republic of Tuva, with the tremor measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale.

Baikal Rift

The Baikal Rift Zone is already one giant continental crack that stretches 2,500km from Northern Mongolia to Southern Yakutia and reaches towards the Arctic Ocean. Picture: Harmon D. Maher Jr

But, as Victor Seleznyov, director of the Geophysical Service of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, warned: 'There was not enough seismic energy released during that earthquake in Tuva, which means that it will be finding time and another point to get out.'

Comments (2)

Fault is glowing today on Infra Red on the weather sites.
Could well be a quake soon.
Al Junio R, Lincoln UK
10/04/2016 02:26
0
0
and I see that Iceland is being affected by post glacial rebound .....the permafrost is melting

http://www.livescience.com/49751-iceland-rising-melting-ice.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound
stephen andrew persaud, London
13/02/2015 12:39
0
4
1

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