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Stalagmite growth perturbations from the Kumaun Himalaya as potential earthquake recorders

Rajendran, CP and Sanwal, Jaishri and Morell, Kristin D and Sandiford, Mike and Kotlia, BS and Hellstrom, John and Rajendran, Kusala (2016) Stalagmite growth perturbations from the Kumaun Himalaya as potential earthquake recorders. In: JOURNAL OF SEISMOLOGY, 20 (2). pp. 579-594.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10950-015-9545-5


The central part of the Himalaya (Kumaun and Garhwal Provinces of India) is noted for its prolonged seismic quiescence, and therefore, developing a longer-term time series of past earthquakes to understand their recurrence pattern in this segment assumes importance. In addition to direct observations of offsets in stratigraphic exposures or other proxies like paleoliquefaction, deformation preserved within stalagmites (speleothems) in karst system can be analyzed to obtain continuous millennial scale time series of earthquakes. The Central Indian Himalaya hosts natural caves between major active thrusts forming potential storehouses for paleoseismological records. Here, we present results from the limestone caves in the Kumaun Himalaya and discuss the implications of growth perturbations identified in the stalagmites as possible earthquake recorders. This article focuses on three stalagmites from the Dharamjali Cave located in the eastern Kumaun Himalaya, although two other caves, one of them located in the foothills, were also examined for their suitability. The growth anomalies in stalagmites include abrupt tilting or rotation of growth axes, growth termination, and breakage followed by regrowth. The U-Th age data from three specimens allow us to constrain the intervals of growth anomalies, and these were dated at 4273 +/- 410 years BP (2673-1853 BC), 2782 +/- 79 years BP (851-693 BC), 2498 +/- 117 years BP (605-371 BC), 1503 +/- 245 years BP (262-752 AD), 1346 +/- 101 years BP (563-765 AD), and 687 +/- 147 years BP (1176-1470 AD). The dates may correspond to the timings of major/great earthquakes in the region and the youngest event (1176-1470 AD) shows chronological correspondence with either one of the great medieval earthquakes (1050-1250 and 1259-1433 AD) evident from trench excavations across the Himalayan Frontal Thrust.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: SPRINGER
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the SPRINGER, VAN GODEWIJCKSTRAAT 30, 3311 GZ DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS
Keywords: Stalagmites; Speleoseismology; Earthquake recurrence; Central Indian Himalaya; Seismic gap
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Earth Sciences
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2016 06:04
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2016 06:04
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/53645

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