- Scientists want resources directed at
identifying seismic risk in regions such as the Alpine-Himalayan belt, which
covers Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran and central Asia, and
Millions of people in Europe, the Middle-East
and Asia are at risk from deadly tremors which can strike out of the blue in
unmapped earthquake zones, scientists warned last night.
Attention should be focused on these regions,
which lie within the interior of continents, instead of well known earthquake
‘hotspots’, according to two leading experts.
They stress that ‘interior zone’ earthquakes
kill far more people than those in recognised danger areas on continental edges
such as Japan and California
Over the past century, earthquakes on large
fault lines where shifting plates of Earth’s crust collide and slip have claimed
around 800,000 lives, say the experts writing in the journal Nature
Around half these deaths were due to tsunamis
like the one which struck the north-east coast of Japan in March.
In contrast, sudden earthquakes in continental
interiors within the plates killed around 1.4million.
Interior quakes also killed far more people
directly by shaking the ground and toppling buildings.
Professor Philip England, from Oxford
University, and Professor James Jackson, from Cambridge University, classified
130 earthquakes occurring in the last 120 years.
They argue that more scientific resources
should be directed at identifying seismic risk in regions such as the ten
million square kilometre Alpine-Himalayan belt, which covers Italy, Greece,
Turkey, Iran and central Asia, and China.