Mysterious Earth Crack Appears In Manipur Hills, Stumps Scientists

| June 13 , 2017 , 17:13 IST

Over the last week, mysterious cracks have been appearing in the earth in the area of Manipur hills sending local residents to refugee camps and drawing tourists curious to see the fissures breaking the roads.

First appearing on June 4, residents described a sudden 'earth movement' as the mysterious 'earth crack' appeared in the Kankpokpi district of Manipur leading to a panic of potential landslides. The crack originated below the village of J Songtun and spread towards Kalikhola village.

Within 24 hours of the first crack, 11 houses had collapsed and 19 others were on the edge. The cracks ran through the surrounding paddy fields and roads destroying them as well. The crack widened further and damaged structures within a 5 km radius, including water pipelines and electric posts.  

In wake of the expanding cracks, around 250 people have been shifted to relief camps and Manipur Tribal Development Minister N Kayisii has provided Rs 3 lakh in financial assistance to those displaced by the fissure. The fissure was inspected by the principal secretary, relief and disaster management along with other Kangpokpi officials and further Rs 20 lakh was sanctioned as relief.

However, the causes of the cracks remain a mystery. Geological Survey of India sent a team to study the crack and while there were rumours that the cracks were a result of a dormant volcano in the Koubru range showing signs of life, the rumours were dismissed. An associate professor at a science college in the state, Th Ranjit opined that the cracks were a result of the recent bout of heavy rains in deforested hills which had rich soil cover.

Similar earth cracks have appeared internationally as well, in South Africa and in US, in the middle of the Arizona desert. While sometimes the cracks were attributed to the shifting of the earth's tectonic plates, others were called sinkholes. Such cracks in Arizona were believed to be caused by the withdrawal of ground water which left empty space where the earth caved in.