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Earthquakes in Uttarakhand, India

State - Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal), India
Capital - Dehradun
Population - 8,479,562 (2001)

Population per district (Top 5)
Haridwar - pop. 1,447,187
Dehradun
- pop. 1
,282,143
Udham Singh Nagar - pop. 1,235,614
Naini Tal - pop. 762,909
Gharwal - pop.
697,078


Earthquake History
The state of Uttarakhand is among the most seismically active parts of India. Many events of M5.5 or more have struck the region since 1900. The state straddles several active parallel thrust faults that form the ranges of the Himalayan mountain range. These faults have been formed in the highly folded strata of these mountains. The Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) and the Main Frontal Thrust (MFT) are the main active (4) features in Uttarakhand. Slippage on these faults and their counterparts have in the part generated great (M>7.5) earthquakes. Since the last earthquake of this magnitude range in this region occurred more than 200 years ago, this section of the Himalayan thrust zone is believed to have the greatest potential (3) for a future great (M>7.5) earthquake. The region of potential danger is known as the Central Seismic Gap, and underlies Uttarakhand and western Nepal. Smaller faults (4) such as the Yamuna Fault near Haridwar and Alaknanda Fault near Rudraprayag have been active during the Holocene period. The plate boundary between the Indian and Eurasian plates lies in southern Xizang (or Tibet) and is known as the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone. The MBT or MFT are often wrongly quoted as being the plate boundary between the Indian and Eurasian Plates. However, it must be stated that proximity to faults does not necessarily translate into a higher hazard as compared to areas located further away, as damage from earthquakes depends on numerous factors such as subsurface geology as well as adherence to the building codes.

Seismic Hazard

The seismic hazard map of India was updated in 2000 (7) by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). There are no major changes from the BIS 1984 map for the state of Uttarakhand. Districts along the borders with Nepal and China lie in Zone V. MSK intensities in excess of IX can be expected in these districts. The rest of the state, including the city of Dehra Dun lie in Zone IV, where the maximum intensity expected could reach MSK VIII. Since the earthquake database in India is still incomplete, especially with regards to earthquakes prior to the historical period (before 1800 A.D.), these zones offer a rough guide of the earthquake hazard in any particular region and need to be regularly updated (See also: GSHAP Hazard Map for Uttarakhand).

Largest Instrumented Earthquake in Uttarakhand
19 October 1991 - Pilang-Bhatwari area, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.8 (13).
30.770 N, 78.790 E, D=015.0 kms, OT=21:23:15 UTC (4)
768 people were killed and nearly 5,000 injured in this earthquake in Uttarkashi district. Some 18,000 buildings were destroyed in the Uttarkashi-Chamoli region. Landslides and rockfalls were widespread in the Gharwal Hills. Tremors were felt over a wide area of northern India, western Nepal and Pakistan. Minor damage was reported from New Delhi and Chandigarh.

Significant Earthquakes in Uttarakhand
The following list briefly outlines known earthquakes in this region which either had observed intensities of VII or higher (historical events) or had known magnitudes of 6.0 or more (instrumented events). General locations are provided for historical events for which "generalized" epicentral co-ordinates are available. Some events which were significant for other reasons are also included. This list will be updated whenever newer information is available. Please note that Magnitude and Intensity are NOT THE SAME. All events are within the state or union territory covered on this page unless stated otherwise. Utmost care has been observed when including events in this list. Various catalogs have been accessed and cross-checked to include only those events which fit the set intensity or magnitude criteria. Moment magnitudes of some events from 1900 to 1915 have been taken from already published work (1). Moment magnitude (Mw) has been calculated for events from 1900 to the end of 1976, including those from 1900 to 1915 not included in the above study, using empirical relations (1, 2) for earthquakes in the Himalayas.

Acronyms Used:
D=Depth, OT=Origin Time, Mw=Moment Magnitude, Ms=Surface Wave magnitude, Mb=Body Wave Magnitude, ML=Local Magnitude, M?=Magnitude Type unknown

This listing will be modified without notice. Please check back for the latest version when using it elsewhere. Additionally, please reproduce using appropriate CITATIONS/CREDITS.

 

06 July 1505 - Lo Mustang-Globo area, China, Ms 8.2 (16).
29.500 N, 83.000 E (16)
Heavy damage in regions along the China-Nepal border. Felt strongly in many parts of north India and damage was reported from Agra, Delhi, Dholpur, Gwalior and Mathura. Initially this was believed (8) to have been a major earthquake in the Agra area due to dramatic accounts of damage in the city from this earthquake.

1
751 - Daba area (Xizang), China, Ms 7.0 (16).
31.300 N, 80.000 E (16)
This earthquake has been discovered from Tibetan writings and describes damage in and around the Guge area of southern Xizang (or Tibet) along the border with India.

01 September 1803 - Kumaon-Gharwal area, Uttarakhand, M>7.0 (16).
This earthquake is believed to be one of the strongest earthquakes in this region.
Between 200 - 300 were killed in this shock and several villages were buried by landslides and rockfalls. The Badrinath temple located ~40 km north of Chamoli was severely damaged. Tremors were felt as far away as Kolkata. Due to liquefaction effects at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, this earthquake is often wrongly placed in the Mathura area.

26 May 1816 - Gangotri area, Uttarakhand, Ms 6.5 (4).
30.900 N, 79.000 E (4)
This earthquake was located south of Gangotri, in the glaciers surrounding the Badrinath peak.

16 June 1902 - Pokhra-Kainur area, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.0 (1).
30.000 N, 79.000 E, OT=01:36 UTC (1)
This earthquake was located south-east of Pauri in Uttarakhand.

13 June 1906 - Gangotri area, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.1.
31.000 N, 79.000 E (4)
This earthquake was located near Gangotri, in the glaciers surrounding the Badrinath peak. It had a surface wave magnitude (Ms) of 6.0 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.1 is obtained using empirical relations (1, 2).

14 October 1911 - Indo-China border, Mw 6.5 (1).
31.000 N, 80.500 E, OT=23:24 UTC (1)
This earthquake was located in southern Xizang (or Tibet), China, along the international border with India.

28 August 1916 - Near Api Peak, Nepal, Mw 7.1 (10).
30.000 N, 81.000 E (4)
This earthquake was located in Far-western Nepal, to the north-east of Dharchula, Uttarakhand. The shock caused severe damage to civil structures in Dharchula (4).

27 July 1926 - Near Changabang Peak, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.5.
30.500 N, 80.050 E, OT=07:23:36 UTC (4)
This earthquake was centred in the vicinity of the Changabang Peak, which lies in the vicinity of Nanda Devi National Park in Uttarakhand. It had a surface wave magnitude (Ms) of 6.5 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.5 is obtained using empirical relations (1, 2).

08 October 1927 - Indo-China border, Mw 6.1.
30.500 N, 80.500 E, OT=10:34:28 UTC (4)
This earthquake was centred north of the town of Dakar, Uttarakhand. It had a surface wave magnitude (Ms) of 6.0 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.1 is obtained using empirical relations (1, 2).

20 October 1937 - Indo-China border, Mw 5.8.
31.100 N, 78.010 E, OT=03:00:00 UTC (4)
Centred along the state border with Himachal Pradesh, this earthquake caused damage (12) in the region. It had a surface wave magnitude (Ms) of 5.5 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 5.8 is obtained using empirical relations (1, 2). The epicentre is located roughly 85 kilometres to the north of Dehradun and 90 kilometres to the east of Shimla.

04 June 1945 - Near Nanda Devi Peak, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.5.
30.300 N, 80.000 E, D=060.0 kms, OT=12:08:55 UTC (4)
This earthquake was centred in the vicinity of the peak Nanda Devi (elevation: 7,817 metres). It had a surface wave magnitude (Ms) of 6.5 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.5 is obtained using empirical relations (1, 2).

28 December 1958 - Rameshwar-Devi Dhura area, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.1.
29.500 N, 80.000 E, OT=05:34:36 UTC (4)
This earthquake is called the Kakpot earthquake. It had a surface wave magnitude (Ms) of 6.0 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.2 is obtained using empirical relations (1, 2). M
ore than a dozen buildings collapsed (4).  Fissures and landslides (9) were generated in an area within 150 kilometres (9) of Kapkote.

27 June 1966 - Athpali-Dhung area, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.2.
29.620 N, 80.830 E, D=006.0 kms, OT=10:41:08 UTC (4)
This earthquake was centred in Far-western Nepal, along the border with Uttarakhand. It had a body wave magnitude (mb) of 6.0 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.2 is obtained using empirical relations (2).

27 June 1966 - Athpali-Chaubiso area, Nepal, Mw 6.2.
29.710 N, 80.790 E, D=036.0 kms, OT=10:59:18 UTC (4)
This earthquake was centred in Far-western Nepal, along the border with Uttarakhand. It had a body wave magnitude (mb) of 6.0 (4) and a moment magnitude (Mw) of 6.2 is obtained using empirical relations (2).

29 July 1980 - Bajhang-Ghoghda area, Nepal, Mw 6.5 (14).
29.600 N, 81.090 E, D=018.0 kms, OT=14:58:40 (13)

Between 150 - 200 persons were killed and hundreds injured. Extensive damage to several village in western Nepal. The quake also caused damage in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand. 13 persons were killed here and 40 were injured. The shock was felt as far away as Kathmandu and New Delhi.

19 October 1991 - Pilang-Bhatwari area, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.8 (13).
30.770 N, 78.790 E, D=015.0 kms, OT=21:23:15 UTC (4)
768 people were killed and nearly 5,000 injured in this earthquake in Uttarkashi district. Some 18,000 buildings were destroyed in the Uttarkashi-Chamoli region. Landslides and rockfalls were widespread in the Gharwal Hills. Tremors were felt over a wide area of northern India, western Nepal and Pakistan. Minor damage was reported from New Delhi and Chandigarh.

05 January 1997 - Dharchula area, Uttarakhand, Mw 5.6 (14).
29.845 N, 80.532 E, D=033.0 kms, OT=08:47:25 UTC (13)
Felt strongly in many parts of Uttarnchal, including Nainital, Kumaon and the Terai areas. Many people ran outdoors in panic and window panes were broken in many localities. Many houses were damaged in western Nepal and it was felt at Baitadi and Dadeldhura.

28 March 1999 - Chamoli-Pipalkoti area, Uttarakhand, Mw 6.4 (13).
30.409 N, 79.415 E, D=021.0 kms, OT=19:05:13 UTC (4)
115 people killed in the
Gharwal region. The quake was felt very strongly in Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi and Haryana. In Haryana, one person was killed in the city of Ambala and 2 at Nakodar in the neighbouring state of Punjab. Minor damage to buildings in New Delhi, most significantly in Patparganj. Minor damage also reported from Chandigarh.

30 March 1999
- Chamoli-Pipalkoti area, Uttarakhand, ML 4.9 (6).
30.377 N, 79.444 E, D=003.9 kms, OT=21:02:09 UTC (6)
50 people were injured in this tremor which was an aftershock of the event on 28 March 1999. Several buildings developed further cracks and many damaged houses at Maithana village collapsed. At Barai in Chamoli district, 20 houses collapsed and 11 developed cracks, while at Kotiyal 4 houses collapsed and 85 developed cracks. Some damage was also reported from Rudraprayag district. This event had a a magnitude of Mb 5.2 (6).

31 March 1999
- Chamoli-Pipalkoti area, Uttarakhand, Mc 3.0 (6).
30.341 N, 79.449 E, D=001.0 kms, OT=20:39:49 UTC (6)
1 person was killed and several injured in a house collapsed at Hat Pipalkot in Chamoli district. Felt at Chamoli and Rudryaprayag.

27 May 2003 - Bangina region, Uttarakhand, Mb 5.0
30.555 N, 79.336 E, D=028.9 kms, OT=04:23:28 UTC
A moderate earthquake struck the Gharwal Himalayas on 27 May 2003 at 09:53 AM local time. It had a magnitude of Mb=5.0 and was felt widely in the region.

8 October 2005 - Kashmir-Kohistan, Pakistan-India border, Mw 7.6
34.432 N, 73.537 E, D=020.0 kms, OT=03:50:40 UTC
A major earthquake struck the India-Pakistan border on the morning of 8 October 2005. It had a magnitude of Mw=7.6 and was felt strongly in much of Pakistan, northern India and eastern Afghanistan. The earthquake resulted in more than 80,000 deaths in northern Pakistan and adjoining parts of Jammu & Kashmir, India and is by far one of the deadliest in the sub-continent. At least 10 people also died in other parts of north India (including 1 person in the Dehradun region) and 4 in Afghanistan due to this earthquake. Tremors from the earthquake were felt more than a thousand kilometres away in the Indian states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

14 December 2005 - Pokhri-Gopeshwar region, Uttarakhand, Mb 5.0
30.424 N, 79.245 E, D=051.0 kms, OT=07:09:54 UTC
A moderate earthquake struck the Gharwal region of Uttarakhand, on 14 December 2005 at 12:39 IST causing mior damage to property in some parts of Uttarakhand. The earthquake had a magnitude of Mb=5.0 and was felt at many places in Uttarakhand as well as in Delhi.

5 August 2006 - Thal area, eastern Uttarakhand, Mb 4.4
29.864 N, 80.169 E, D=010.0 kms, OT=07:33:02 UTC
A light earthquake struck the Nepal-India border, on 5 August 2006 at 07:33 UTC causing damage to property in parts of eastern Uttarakhand, India. The earthquake had a magnitude of Mb=4.4 and was felt at many places in Uttarakhand and surprising as far as Delhi.

22 July 2007 - Surka Ridge, Uttarakhand, Mb 5.0
30.938 N, 78.275 E, D=014.0 kms, OT=23:02:17 UTC
A moderate earthquake struck the Yamnotri region in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, on 22 July 2007 at 04:32 UTC causing a few injuries and minor damage to property in parts of Uttarakhand, India. The earthquake had a magnitude of Mb=5.0 and was felt at many places in Uttarakhand and adjoining parts of north India.


References
01) Ambraseys, N, "Reappraisal of north Indian earthquake at the turn of the 20th century", Current Science, November 2000.

02) Dattatrayam, R.S., Kamble, V.P. and Srivastava, H.N., "Source Charachteristics of Some Foreshocks and Aftershocks of Oct.20, 1991 Uttarkashi Earthquake vis-a-vis the Himalayas earthquakes", Uttarkashi Earthquake, Geological Society of India, Memoir 30, 1995.


03) Bilham, R., V. K. Gaur and P. Molnar, Himalayan Seismic Hazard, Science, 293, 1442-4, 2001.

04) Dasgupta, S., Pande, P., Ganguly, D., Iqbal, Z, Sanyal, K, Venkatraman, N.V., Dasgupta, S., Sural, B., Harendranath, L., Mazumdar, K., Sanyal, S., Roy, K., Das, L.K., Misra, P.S., Gupta, H.,  "Seismotectonic Atlas of India and its Environs", Geological Survey of India, 2000.

05) Giardini, D., Gr?, G., Shedlock, K.M., Zhang, P., "The GSHAP Global Seismic Hazard Map", Annali di Geofisica, Vol. 42, No.6, p. 1225 - 1230, 1999.

06)
India Meteorological Department, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.

07) I
S 1893 (Part 1): 2002 Indian Standard Criteria for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures Part 1 General Provisions and Buildings (Fifth Revision).

08) Iyengar, R.N, Sharma, D, and Siddiqui, J.M, "Earthquake History of India in Medieval Times", Indian Journal of history Science, 34 (3), 1999.

09)
Mathur, S.M., "Physical Geology of India", National Book Trust of India, 1998.

10) Pacheco, Javier F., and Sykes, Lynn R., "Seismic moment catalog of large shallow earthquakes, 1900 to 1989", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 82, no. 3, p. 1306 - 1349, 1992.

11)
Rao, B. Ramalingeswara and Rao, P. Sitapathi, "Historical seismicity of Peninsular India", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 74, No. 6, pp.2519-2533, 1984.

12)
Tandon, A.N., and Srivastava, H.N., "Earthquake occurrence in India: Earthquake Engineering (Jai Krishna Vol.)", pp. 1 - 48, Sarita Prakashan, Meerut, 1974.

13)
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center, Golden, CO, USA.

14) Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solutions.

15)
Bilham, R., Bodin, P. and Jackson, M., "Entertaining a Great Earthquake in Western Nepal: Historical inactivity and Geodetic Tests for the present state of strain" R. Journal of the Nepal Geological Society, Vol.11(1) 73-78, 1995.

16)
Ambraseys, N. and Jackson, D., "A note on early earthquakes in northern India and southern Tibet", Current Science, Vol. 84, No. 4, 25 February 2003.

17) Wesse
l, P., and Smith, W.H.F., "Free software helps map and display data", EOS Trans., AGU, 1991, 72, 441, 445.

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