UttarakhandScreenshot of Uttarakhand from Google Map

In the wake of the recent earthquake in Nepal that killed and injured thousands of people, experts have warned that the Indian state of Uttarakhand could be hit by a severe earthquake of 8 magnitude anytime.

A research article, "Geomorphology reveals active d├ęcollement geometry in the central Himalayan seismic gap", has claimed that a 700-km-long "central seismic gap" on the Himalayan front had not ruptured in a major earthquake in 200-500 years and that gap spans Uttarakhand, reported The Hindu

The finding came a few days after a devastating quake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, jolted Nepal and killed more than 8,000 people. Four more earthquakes, one of which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, struck the country again on Tuesday, 12 May, killing at least 19 people (at the time of filing this story) and damaging several buildings in capital city of Kathmandu.

Vinod Kumar Gaur, Geophysicist and Honorary Professor with the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) in Bangalore, told the newspaper in an e-mail that a strong earthquake is bound to hit Uttarakhand and that "It might occur tomorrow, or 50 years later, but it will hit the State."

"According to our calculations, the ongoing plate tectonic process has already stored sufficient elastic strain energy in several segments of the Himalayas west of Nepal, including Uttarakhand, which could generate equal or higher magnitude earthquakes in the future. Our current understanding allows us to estimate the accumulated strain energy but not the time of its release which is controlled by the variable bearing strengths of rocks in different regions," he added.

However, The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has stated on its website that it is very unlikely for scientists to be able to predict an 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.

Going by scientific studies, messages predicting time, place, and intensity of earthquake are a complete hoax and people should avoid spreading it.