Energy

Powerful Mag. 6.7 Earthquake Rocks India, Killing 9

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck the Indian state of Manipur near the border with Myanmar late Sunday evening, killing at least 9 and injuring 200, according to reports.

The earthquake caused buildings to collapse and utterly destroyed a local market.

The death and injuries were reportedly caused as walls and roofs of buildings collapsed, causing property losses and over 200 injuries. The extent of the structural damage is shown below.

The region where the earthquake occurred is very seismically active. Nineteen other earthquakes of similar size have occurred within 250 km of Sunday’s  event over the last century, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The earthquake occurred at a depth of close to 50 km– deep within the tectonic plate.  The 1934 magnitude 8.1 Bihar, the 1905 magnitude 7.5 Kangra and the 2005 magnitude 7.6 Kashmir earthquakes also occurred in the densely populated region for similar geological reasons.

The USGS website states that Sunday’s earthquake was so powerful it would have damaged special quake-resistant buildings and caused others to collapse or be shifted off their foundations, though India does not have that type of building anyway.

The earthquakes are created by the tectonic plate that India sits on top of colliding with the Asian tectonic plate, causing the uplift that produced the Himalayan, the Karakoram, the Pamir and the Hindu Kush mountain ranges. This is the same tectonic collision that created Mt. Everest in the relatively short geologic time span of just 50 million years. This process is shown by the USGS image below.

USGS artist's conception of the 6,000-km-plus northward journey of the "India" landmass. http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/himalaya.html

USGS artist’s conception of the 6,000-km-plus northward journey of the “India” landmass.
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/himalaya.html

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