Three fortunately small-to-moderate earthquakes that have been felt pretty resoundingly in Bangladesh since last May, have given rise to new concerns that the threats we face from natural disasters could be even more elevated than we tend to realise. Such that really no one in the country was ready to raise the issue in the proper forums and platforms, since dealing with adversity and disruption on a day-to-day basis stands as the cornerstone of personal achievement for the thousands of young minds being shaped into maturity by attending our universities. But three such incidents in just over three months is certainly worth scrutinising.

At the most elemental level, the vagaries of plate tectonics have always defied accurate capture and prediction. They say that the increased incidence of tremors witnessed recently can be, indeed they must be put down to the opposite movements of the Indian and Burmese plates, deep inside the Earth's crust. At the junction of these two plates, where the friction occurs, there is a huge amount of energy that is looking for a way out. And that is why we are witnessing earthquakes more frequently. Geologists or even seismologists will be able to tell you that wherever there is a build up of energy, there will also be an attempt to release this energy. And whether that happens in two days from now, or today, what is important is that scientists document the process for its own specificities. Let's see what we can establish about them on a collective.

The latest one struck on August 14th at 8:49pm - it was said to have been felt in most parts of the country including the capital. In fact, it measured 5.5 on the Richter scale, making it the most powerful among earthquakes originating within the country over the last 20 years. Earlier, on June 16, a milder earthquake of magnitude 4.5 occurred across the country, including the capital. Its origin was in Golapganj, a remote region in Sylhet. Earlier on May 5 of this year, another earthquake occurred in Dhaka and its surrounding areas. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the magnitude of that earthquake was 4.3. The epicentre of the earthquake was about 14 km northwest of Dohar in Bikrampur near Dhaka. It was also at a depth of just 10 kilometres, something it shared in common with the latest one (Aug. 14) that had its epicentre in Kanaighat, Sylhet.

The junction of the Indian and Burmese plates as they push against each other is very deep. But we're often seeing the areas where the earthquakes are occurring, especially in Sylhet but certainly not confined to it, at shallow depths. One of the most glaring and worrying aspects for a Bangladeshi has been to recognise how increasingly the epicentre of the quakes has moved towards and into Bangladesh.

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