‘Volcano-like eruption’ in Himachal Pradesh

FlamesHIMLA: Reports of a “volcano-like eruption” in Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh has triggered panic among the people of the area.

Flames and a hot liquid stream were seen spewing out of a hill 100 m from Gadiyada village. The village is over 200 km from Shimla.

After a report by the state geologists confirmed the eruption as ‘small magmatic activity’, a team of Geological Survey of India (GSI) reached the site on Thursday. This is the first time such a volcanic activity has been witnessed in the state.

Fearing that a bigger eruption could damage their agricultural land and houses, residents of around half a dozen villages in the vicinity of the eruption are anxiously awaiting the final report of GSI team.

“Gases and liquids are being emitted from holes in a 10 feet area around the hill where the volcanic activity took place,” said Ved Prakash, president of Drang panchayat. He said the eruption, unheard of in this area, caused panic among villagers.

Unmindful of the threat of more volcanic activity the site has turned into a tourist spot with hundreds of people from surrounding areas heading there to see the phenomenon. To prevent anything untoward the district administration has decided to fence off the entire area and deploy security guards.

Chief parliamentary secretary Jagjivan Pal in whose Sulah assembly constituency the area falls visited the spot on Tuesday.

He said the flames and the hot liquid emanating from the hill had created panic. “Underground temperature in the area has increased manifold and people say that a steel electricity pole had become red hot a couple of days back,” he added. Pal said a sulphur-like material and black stone is flowing out from the perimeter of the hill.

Palampur SDM Bhupender Attri said a team of geologists from state had confirmed small scale magmatic activity in the area.

As chances of this activity escalating in coming days cannot be ruled out, a GSI team has been called to study the area and check the strata. “Flames were witnessed so possibility of reoccurrence cannot be ruled out. Now we are waiting for the final report from GSI team,” he added.

Former state geologist Arun Sharma said occurrence of such a volcanic eruption has been reported for the first time in Himachal Pradesh but the presence of magmatic substance is not new to the state. He said that existence of hot sulphur springs at Manikaran, Kalath, Tattapni and Vashishth confirms that magmatic material is present underneath these springs. – indiatimes.com