Nepal faces larger and more deadly earthquakes, even after the magnitude-7.8 temblor that killed more than 4,000 people on Saturday. Earthquake experts say Saturday’s Nepal earthquake did not release all of the pent-up seismic pressure in the region near Kathmandu. According to GPS monitoring and geologic studies, some 33 to 50 feet (10 to 15 meters) of motion may need to be released, said Eric Kirby, a geologist at Oregon State University. The earth jumped by about 10 feet (3 m) during the devastating April 25 quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

“The earthquakes in this region can be much, much larger,” said Walter Szeliga, a geophysicist at Central Washington University. Seismologists have extensively studied the possibility of damaging earthquakes in the central Himalayas. Through analyzing written histories, looking for clues from damaged buildings and digging along faults, researchers know of several damaging earthquakes in the past, but not their precise size.Nepal was overdue for a major earthquake, said Marin Clark, a geophysicist at the University of Michigan. “It has been a long time since the last big rupture, so this is not unexpected,” Clark said. MORE