A tectonic fault line that runs through India’s Ladakh region has been thought to be inactive for long. However, a recent survey, according to a report by The Indian Express, has found that the tectonic fault line is not inactive and it is also moving northward. The report citing a study conducted by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, noted that the fault line is tectonically active along the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ).
Notably, the frontal, as well as the central parts of the Himalayan region including the Shivaliks, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir Uttarakhand, and Sikkim, have known to be active, Ladakh was always known to be locked. However, that has changed now, as the new study found the tectonic lines on the region moving along with the Indus river, right from China to Pakistan.
According to the report, the area from the north of Ladakh- Leh to the Tso Moriri lake has been studied by researchers covering a distance of 213 kilometres. It highlighted that a low-intensity earthquake that hit the area in 2010 is not being attributed to a thrust rupture. The observations made by the geologists pointed out that the sedimentary beds in the area have tilted whereas the Earth’s crust was found broken with rivers having uplifted terraces. The bedrock also showed a brittle deformation.
All the studies done, including the combination of field and lab data indicated that the region- Indus Suture Zone “has been neo-tectonically active for the past 78,000-58,000 years.” To be sure, a suture zone can be termed as a linear belt of intense deformation where different terranes, or tectonic units that have different tectonic, paleogeographic and metamorphic histories come together.
Furthermore, the report said that even though the fault line is active, it is unlikely to cause a strong earthquake in the Ladakh region. “The possibility of a high magnitude earthquake here is almost non-existent because we have not picked up any intense seismic signature in the region,” the report citing study author said.