Even as the world is grieving the loss of lives and destruction in Nepal after a strong earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale jolted the country on Saturday, a message was doing the rounds among mobile users and on social media that a stronger quake could hit North India on Sunday evening but it has turned out to be a complete hoax.
The fake news came a day after Nepal was jolted by a strong quake, leaving more than 2,300 people dead and injuring hundreds. The impact of the quake was felt in the northern states of India, particularly Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal, killing more than 60 people.
In what could create panic among the public, a fake message predicting another strong tremor had been forwarded on mobile phones and shared on social media on Sunday. The message reads: "North India will face next earthquake at 8.06 pm. Govt. of India is saying not to go in their houses. The next richer (Richter) scale of earthquake will be 8.2. News from NASA. Plz forward message as much as u can."
However, it has turned out to be a complete hoax and there is no truth to the claim whatsoever.
"It is fake. The NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) cannot predict earthquakes. Such messages are only seeking to create panic among people," a seismologist at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) told IANS. "No country can predict earthquakes. The technology has not advanced so much as yet. There is some research going on in China, but even they have not reached any substantial result."
The government of India has also clarified that the message predicting earthquake in North India has no substance.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has also stated on its website that it is very unlikely for scientists to be able to predict earthquake.
"No, and it is unlikely they will ever be able to predict them. Scientists have tried many different ways of predicting earthquakes, but none have been successful. On any particular fault, scientists know there will be another earthquake sometime in the future, but they have no way of telling when it will happen," said USGS.
Based on scientific studies, messages predicting time, place, and intensity of earthquake are complete hoax and public should avoid spreading it as it can create panic.
Meanwhile, an aftershock measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale was experienced on Sunday in Nepal and several parts of India, including states like New Delhi, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. No casualties or damage have been reported in the fresh earthquake.