Updated: Feb 13, 2021 7:49:10 AM
Strong tremors were felt across northern India, including Delhi, as a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Tajikistan on Friday. The epicenter was located 35 km west of the city of Murghab in Tajikistan, whose distance from Srinagar, as the crow flies, is less than 500 km.
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake originated nearly 92 km below the earth’s surface, allowing it to travel great distances. Strong tremors were felt in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and even Delhi. Earthquakes from distant places are unlikely to cause damage, as they lose most of their destructive energy along the way and become severely weakened.
The panic escalated when the National Seismological Center (NCS), India’s leading agency monitoring earthquakes in the region, initially reported that the epicenter was near Amritsar and the quake had originated only 10 km below the earth’s surface. This kind of earthquake would have caused havoc on a large scale in the region. Such powerful earthquakes are not known to have their origin in this region. The NCS corrected its alert a few minutes later, but by then it had already been reported by the media.
Prone to earthquakes
The earthquake occurred near the mountainous Hindu Kush region, which is among the world’s hotspots for earthquakes with one of the main tectonic fault lines. USGS data shows that this southeastern corner of Tajikistan has recorded at least 14 earthquakes of magnitude five or more in the past five years. Only one of them, which struck in 2016, was stronger than that seen on Friday. The tremors of those coming from the depths of the surface are also felt in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir.
In Kashmir, strong shaking was felt by locals gathering in the streets, with the first shaking followed by a second, lasting at least 20 seconds.
BJP National Secretary General Tarun Chugh talks about the earthquakes felt in the government guesthouse in Srinagar where he and many others were staying and the atmosphere of fear.@IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/MQZxZOUHtH
– Male Aman Singh Chhina (@manaman_chhina) February 12, 2021
However, no damage report has yet been noted. In some areas, the power supply was cut but was restored within minutes.
National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah said the tremors reminded people of the 2005 earthquake in Jammu and Kashmir. “Since the 2005 earthquake, the tremors in Srinagar have not been violent enough to force me to leave home. I grabbed a blanket and ran. I couldn’t remember picking up my phone so I couldn’t tweet “earthquake” while the ground was shaking, ”he tweeted.
In Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted: “No damage reports so far in Amritsar or other parts of Punjab… Senior @PunjabPoliceInd and local administration officials are closely monitoring the situation. Pray for everyone’s safety.
With thick fog in Amritsar, locals who gathered outside their homes after the tremors didn’t wait long for aftershocks and quickly made their way inside.
“I was on the bed getting ready to fall asleep. Suddenly I felt that my bed was moving and the ceiling fan was shaking as well. The shocks were felt twice… I went out for a while. My neighbors were also out, ”said Sorev Sharma, a resident of Amritsar.
Congressman Rahul Gandhi, who interacts virtually with students at the University of Chicago, has been heard to say his entire room is “shaking.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal prayed for people’s safety. According to Delhi firefighters, no call for help was received immediately.
The governor of Rajasthan, Kalraj Mishra, also tweeted about the shaking and prayed for the welfare of all.