Massive Earthquake Could Destroy Homes Of Millions In South Asia

First Posted: Jul 12, 2016 06:37 AM EDT

Lurking under Myanmar, Bangladesh, and India is a megathrust fault that could expose millions of people to a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, at the very least.

A GPS study found startling evidence of the northeastern corner of the Indian subcontinent in an active collision course with the rest of Asia, which could pose a major risk for a major earthquake in one of the most densely populated regions in the world.

National Geographic noted that if the study's models are correct, the region, which is home to over 140 million people, could be sitting on top of an active megathrust fault - the same feature that caused the catastrophic 9.0 earthquake in Japan back in 2011.

It won't be too long before this catastrophic event could hit. The models suggest that the fault has been accumulating for over 400 years, and with an area of over 124 miles spring-loaded with significant levels of tectonic strain, researchers warned in Nature Geoscience that the entire fault could give way at once - although they do not know if and when this could happen.

Michael Steckler, a geophysicist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of the study shared, 'Some of us have long suspected this hazard, but we didn't have the data and a model. Now we have the data and a model, and we can estimate the size."

The region is also said to be seismically active. The Daily Mail reported that the collision between giant tectonic plate forcing its way northwards has resulted in the formation of the Himalayas, and these kinds of shoving have such an impact - an example of which is the 2015 quake in Nepal that claimed over 8,000 lives.

Scientists believe that the damage this latest discovery could be severe enough to render Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, unlivable. The same area at risk, according to Reuters, also lies along the same fault lines that killed 230,000 people in an earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004.

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