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Earthquakes in India, Types, Zones, Causes, Impacts, Latest Updates

Earthquake in Nepal and Delhi: Latest Update

Another earthquake of magnitude 5.6 on the Richter scale hit Nepal on the 6th of November 2023 evening as the Himalayan nation recovered from the deadly November 3 earthquake that killed 153 people. This is the 3rd earthquake that has struck Nepal in the last four days. Tremors were also felt in parts of northern India, including the Delhi-NCR region.

Earthquake in Nepal: Nepal earthquake: A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal’s Lamidanda area in the Jajarkot district, causing strong tremors that were felt in various northern Indian cities, including the Delhi-NCR region, around 11.30 pm. The earthquake had a depth of 10 km, occurring at a latitude of 28.84 N and a longitude of 82.19 E. This marks the third significant quake in Nepal within a month.

Earthquake in North India: The seismic activity extended to North India, including Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, and Bihar, where residents experienced strong tremors. However, local officials initially reported no injuries or significant damage in these areas.

Delhi Earthquake: In Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), residents felt intense tremors, prompting them to evacuate their homes. The earthquake caused buildings in the national capital to shake. Remarkably, this marks the third occurrence of powerful earthquakes in Nepal within a month.

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Massive Earthquake Tremors Felt in Delhi-NCR: Last Month

A powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake originating in neighbouring Nepal sent massive tremors through Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). The National Centre for Seismology identified the epicentre of this seismic event as being located in Nepal, and it occurred on October 3, 2023, at 14:51:04 IST.

The earthquake had a depth of 5 kilometres and was centred at Lat: 29.39 and Long: 81.23, as reported by the National Centre for Seismology. Reports indicate that the earthquake was not confined to Delhi and the NCR; tremors were also felt in various areas of Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, Hapur, and Amroha. This event has generated widespread concern and attention due to its significant magnitude and the widespread impact it has had on the region.

Earthquakes in India

An earthquake is just the shaking of the ground. It happens naturally. It happens as a result of energy being released, which makes waves move in all directions. When an earthquake occurs, the Earth vibrates, producing seismic waves that are detected by seismographs.

Every day, moderate-sized earthquakes take place. On the other hand, powerful tremors that inflict extensive destruction are less frequent. Around plate boundaries, particularly along convergent boundaries, earthquakes are more frequent. More earthquakes occur in the area of India where the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate clash. Consider the Himalayan region, for instance.

India’s peninsular region is thought to be a stable area. On occasion, though, earthquakes are felt on the edges of smaller plates. The 1967 Koyna earthquake and the 1993 Latur earthquake are two examples of earthquakes that occurred in peninsular areas. Indian seismologists have divided India into four seismic zones: Zone II, Zone III, Zone IV, and Zone V.

As can be seen, zones V and IV are assigned to the entire Himalayan region as well as the states of North-East India, Western and Northern Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and portions of Gujarat. A significant chunk of the peninsular region is in the low-risk zone, while the northern lowlands and western coastal regions continue to be in the moderate hazard zone.

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Types of Indian Earthquakes

Tectonic Earthquakes

The movement of loose, broken bits of land on the earth’s crust known as tectonic plates is what causes the most frequent type of earthquake.

Volcanic Earthquake

These earthquakes, which are less frequent than the tectonic variety, take place prior to or following a volcanic eruption. It happens when rocks that are forced to the surface mix with magma that is erupting from the volcano.

Collapse Earthquake

In subterranean mines, there is an earthquake. The pressure created inside the rocks is the primary cause.

Explosion Earthquakes

This kind of earthquake doesn’t naturally occur. The main culprit is a high-density explosion, such as a nuclear explosion.

Earthquake Zones in India

Here’s a complete List of All Zones of Earthquakes in India:

The zones are distinguished using Modified Mercalli (MM) intensity, which evaluates the impact of earthquakes. However, the seismic zoning map was updated following the Killari earthquake in Maharashtra in 1993, merging the low danger zone, or Seismic Zone I, with Seismic Zone II. Zone I is therefore excluded from the mapping.

Zone II

It falls under the low-intensity category. It covers 40.93% of the nation’s land area. Along with the Karnataka Plateau, it also encompasses the peninsula region.

Zone III

This region is moderately intense. It covers 30.79 per cent of the nation’s area. The state is made up of Kerala, Goa, and the Lakshadweep Islands, as well as portions of Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu.

Zone IV

A high-intensity zone is what it is called. It covers 17.49% of the land area of the nation. It encompasses the remaining portions of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, Sikkim, the northern portions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, the western coast of Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.

Zone V

It falls under the category of an extremely severe zone. It covers 10.79 per cent of the land area of the nation. It also covers a region of North Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Major Earthquakes in India List

Some of the devastating earthquakes have affected India. More than 58.6% of Indian Territory is vulnerable to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity. Some of India’s most significant earthquakes include:

  • Cutch Earthquake (1819) which was 8.3 magnitude
  • Assam Earthquake (1897)
  • Bihar-Nepal Earthquake (1934) of 8.4 magnitude
  • Koyna Earthquake (1967) of 6.5 magnitude
  • Uttarkashi (1991) of 6.6 magnitude
  • Killari (1993) of 6.4 magnitude
  • Bhuj (2001) of 7.7 magnitude
  • Jammu Kashmir (2005)

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List of Major Earthquakes in India Year-wise for UPSC

  • 2015 India/Nepal Earthquake
  • 2011 Sikkim Earthquake
  • 2005 Kashmir Earthquake
  • 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
  • 2001 Bhuj Earthquake
  • 1999 Chamoli Earthquake
  • 1997 Jabalpur Earthquake
  • 1993 Latur Earthquake
  • 1991 Uttarkashi Earthquake
  • 1941 Andaman Islands Earthquake
  • 1975 Kinnaur Earthquake
  • 1967 Koynanagar Earthquake
  • 1956 Anjar Earthquake
  • 1934 Bihar/Nepal Earthquake
  • 1905 Kangra Earthquake

Causes of Earthquakes in India

Avalanches and Landslides

Tremors can cause slope instability and collapse, which can lead to debris falling down the slope and causing landslides, especially in hilly areas. Massive amounts of ice may fall from peaks covered in snow as a result of avalanches brought on by earthquakes. As an illustration, the 2015 Nepal earthquake led to several avalanches on and near Mount Everest.

Landslides and considerable property damage were caused by the Sikkim earthquake of 2011 in particular at the Singik and Upper Teesta hydroelectric projects.


Flash floods and failures of dams and reservoirs could result from the earthquake. Flooding could result from avalanches and slides impeding the river’s flow. The 1950 Assam earthquake produced a barrier in the Dihang River as a result of the buildup of enormous debris, resulting in flash floods in the upstream region.


When an ocean basin is disturbed and a significant amount of water is displaced, waves called tsunamis are created. The seafloor is moved by seismic waves from earthquakes, which can produce large sea waves. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra caused the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

The Indian plate subducting beneath the Burmese plate is what caused it to happen. Over 2.4 lakh people were killed in the Indian Ocean region and its neighbouring countries. Ten-meter Tsunami waves were produced by an undersea earthquake of magnitude nine during the devastating Tohoku earthquake in Japan in 2011. Due to the destruction of the emergency generators cooling the reactors, a nuclear meltdown occurred, and the radioactive fallout from Fukushima Daiichi became a major global problem.

Impact of Earthquakes in India

Loss of Human Life and Property

Human towns and structures sustain severe damage and destruction as a result of the ground surface deformation brought on by the earth’s crust’s vertical and horizontal movement. a case in point An analysis of the urban devastation caused by the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

The depth of this 7.8-magnitude earthquake was 8.2 kilometres. The Nepal earthquake claimed many lives as a result of unchecked urban expansion, poorly engineered buildings, and unscientifically designed constructions. Urban areas of Kathmandu were badly devastated, causing 8,000 fatalities and a 10 billion dollar economic loss.

Alterations to the River’s Course

The alteration in the river’s course brought on by the obstruction is one of the earthquake’s significant effects.

Fountains of Mud

Mud and boiling water may surface as a result of the earthquake’s tremendous force. The agricultural field was covered in knee-deep mud following the 1934 Bihar earthquake.

Fire Risks

Gas pipelines and electric infrastructure are both harmed by earthquakes. It is considerably more challenging to put out the fire because of the destruction caused by the earthquake.

Mitigation Measures for Earthquakes in India

The National Center for Seismology

Governmental organisations receive earthquake monitoring and hazard reports from a department of the Ministry of Earth Sciences. There are three divisions in it: Geophysical Observation System, Earthquake Hazard and Risk Assessment, and Earthquake Monitoring and services.

National Earthquake Risk Mitigation Project (NERMP)

Enhancing earthquake mitigation programmes’ non-structural and structural components. It aids in lowering susceptibility in high-risk areas. In the areas with strong seismic activity, necessary risk reduction measures are put in place. The project’s assigned agency, NDMA, has created a detailed project report (DPR).

National Building Code (NBC)

It is a comprehensive building code and a national regulation that sets rules for controlling building construction across the nation. The Planning Commission ordered its first 1970 publication, which was later updated in 1983. Following that, three significant amendments—two in 1987 and the third in 1997—were published. The National Building Code of India 2005 replaces the updated NBC (NBC 2005). Meeting the problems presented by natural disasters and adopting current, applicable international best practises are the key characteristics.

Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC)

It takes on projects for life-line structural retrofitting to raise awareness among the populace and various governmental organisations. It sought to assist the general public and policymakers in particular in their efforts to lessen the vulnerability of the thousands of existing public and private structures.

NDMA Guidelines for Earthquakes

In 2007, the NDMA published its comprehensive earthquake recommendations. The rules specify actions that must be taken by State Governments, Central Ministries, and Departments in order to create disaster management plans with a focus on managing earthquake risk. Six pillars make up the fundamental tenet of these principles:

  • The building of new structures that is earthquake-resistant.
  • Retrofitting and selective seismic strengthening of existing structures.
  • Enforcement and regulation.
  • Preparation and awareness.
  • Building capacity;
  • Emergency reaction.

Biggest Earthquakes in India

The devastating Bhuj earthquake of 2001 took place on January 26, 2001, near the Pakistani border in the Indian state of Gujarat. The largest earthquake in India, measuring 8.6 on the Richter scale, struck the India-China region on August 15, 1950. 1530 people perished as a result of the shifting of tectonic plates at a depth of 30 km.

Earthquake in the Indian Ocean

Since of their resemblance to rapidly rising tides, tsunamis are commonly referred to as tidal waves, but scientists avoid using this phrase because, unlike tides, which are brought about by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon, tsunamis are caused by the displacement of water. The tsunami of 2004 was caused by a massive earthquake that was the third-largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph.

On the Richter scale, it was between 9.1 and 9.3 in magnitude. The faulting persisted for the longest time ever—between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It generated several aftershocks that persisted for up to 3 to 4 months after the initial incident. A significant amount of energy was released as a result of the seismic activity, and the earth is thought to have slightly shifted on its axis.

The earth’s rotation changed as a result of the change in mass and energy released. The earthquake caused the seafloor to rise vertically by many metres, displacing a significant amount of water and resulting in a tsunami. Indonesia was the first country to be affected by the tsunami because of its proximity. Additionally, it saw the most casualties, with about 170,000 people dying.

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Earthquakes in India FAQs

What are the 5 largest earthquake ever recorded in India?

• 1993 Latur Earthquake
• 1991 Uttarkashi Earthquake
• 1941 Andaman Islands Earthquake
• 1975 Kinnaur Earthquake
• 1967 Koynanagar Earthquake

Which is the biggest earthquake in India?

The devastating Bhuj earthquake of 2001 took place on January 26, 2001, in the Indian state of Gujarat, close to the Pakistani border.

Which city in India is most prone to earthquake?

• Guwahati
• Srinagar
• Mumbai
• Pune
• Kerala
• Delhi
• Chennai
• Kochi
• Thiruvananthapuram
• Patna

What causes earthquake in India?

The entire Himalayan belt as well as the country’s north-eastern portion is prone to powerful earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 8.0. The Indian plate is moving toward the Eurasian plate at a pace of roughly 50 mm per year, which is the primary cause of earthquakes in these areas.

Which place is safe from earthquake?

Go somewhere open that is far from any trees, telephone poles, or structures. Once outside, crouch low and remain there until the trembling stops. The most hazardous spot to be is close to a building's exterior walls. Frequently, the building's windows, façade, and architectural details are the first to give way.

Was there an earthquake in Delhi?

On November 06, 2023 strong tremors were felt in Delhi and NCR after two earthquakes that has struck Nepal in the last four days.

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