Top 10 Worst Earthquakes of India
It was 26th January, 2001, the republic day of India. Students were going to school for republic day celebration, those who thought republic day as just another holiday were snoring. Leaders all over the country were hoisting the tri-color flag.
As an on-going tradition people were distributing sweets among children, some were seen holding flags, some busy attaching a small flag on their shirts. Some were chatting with their friends for planning and enjoying the rest of the day.
Suddenly, news-struck that an earthquake has taken place in Gujarat.
As time passed by, news was that it is massive and tremendous loss of life and property is taken place. Reportedly 30,000 people died and numerous others got injured. This is the real story of the Gujarat earthquake.
Fifteen years down the line, situation has improved, but the scars remain.
There are more deadly earthquakes that India has witnessed. Here is the list of ten worst earthquakes that India has seen in its history.
What are the most powerful earthquakes of India?
Date, Time, and Year
08:50, December 26, 2004
West coast of Sumatra, Indonesia
08:50:38, October 8, 2005
Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Bihar and Nepal
14 :13, January 15, 1934
South of Mount Everest
08:50:00, January 26, 2001
06:10, April 4, 1905
22:25, September 30, 1993
19:39, August 15, 1950
17 :11, June 12, 1897
Exact location not known
Unknown time, October 20, 1991
04:21, December 11, 1967
1) Indian Ocean Earthquake, 2004
Date - December 26, 2004
Time - 08:50
Deaths - > 283,106 (Includes deaths in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, and Somalia)
Magnitude - 9.1–9.3
Epicenter - West coast of Sumatra, Indonesia (3.316°N 95.854°E)
Extreme widespread destruction took place on the following day of Christmas. The calamity was so huge that even islands in middle of the Indian Ocean disappeared or were in 3-5 meters deep in water.
The newspapers on the following day was full of gory pictures and mind-numbing loss of human lives with property worth thousands of crores destroyed.
One more thing I remember that newspapers were only reporting about the Tsunami. From the first page till the last page it was only and only about the Tsunami. No Sports, no business news for the following several days.
Indian Ocean Tsunami: Aceh, Sumatra Islands After 10 Years
2) Kashmir Earthquake, 2005
Date - October 8, 2005
Time - 08:50:38
Deaths - 130,000
Magnitude - 7.6
Epicenter - Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-administered Kashmir (34.45°N 73.65°E)
While the death toll in India was less, the Pakistani side suffered huge loss of life and property. The epicenter of the quake was in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. It's severity could be understood by the thought that even neighboring countries like China, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan felt tremors.
International community came forward in every possible way to help the victims. Relief material flowed in from every part of the world. The Indian Army helped in a big way by clearing the debris and distributing relief material and maintaining medical camps in Pakistan as well as in India.
3) Bihar Earthquake, 1934
Date - January 15, 1934
Time - 14 :13
Deaths - > 30,000
Magnitude - 8.7
Epicenter - South of Mount Everest (27.55°N 87.09°E)
Just as the recent one that took place in Pokhara in which both Nepal and India are affected, like it was in 1934 though on a larger scale (8.7 magnitude) with widespread destruction.
As of recent reports the 2015 earthquake is of 7.9 magnitude with more than 1500 people dead in India and Nepal.
2015 Earthquake of Bihar - Nepal
4) Gujarat Earthquake, 2001
Date - January 26, 2001
Time - 08:50:00
Deaths - 20,000
Magnitude - 7.7
Epicenter - Kutch, Gujarat (23.419°N 70.232°E)
The opening paragraph sums up the effects of the Gujarat Earthquake. Normalcy could only be restored after six months of rigorous relief efforts from all sections of society. Help poured in from all over the world but the damage had already been done.
Some losing their life savings, some their life.
5) Kangra Earthquake, 1905
Date - April 4, 1905
Time - 06:10
Deaths - > 20,000
Magnitude - 7.8
Epicenter - Himalayas (33.0°N 76.0°E)
Another one of the deadliest quakes that India faced took place in the Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh. More than 100,000 homes were destroyed and scores of animals, trees, and the natural vegetation that the region had were completed gutted.
This is the 2nd worst earthquake from the pre-independence era after the Nepal-Bihar earthquake of 1934.
6) Latur Earthquake, 1993
Date - September 30, 1993
Time - 22:25
Deaths - > 9,748
Magnitude - 6.4
Epicenter - Killari, Latur (18.1°N 76.5°E)
One of the most fatal natural disaster that Maharashtra has ever faced. Though the magnitude recorded was 6.4 but the destruction that it caused was massive.
The most affected areas were of Latur and Osmanabad. Invariably, this natural calamity brought attention towards this area and now Latur and adjoining areas as well-developed.
Watch the below news snippet from BBC where the anchor describes the plight causing entire villages to be flattened as people were sleeping.
7) Assam Earthquake, 1950
Date - August 15, 1950
Time - 19:39
Deaths - 1,526
Magnitude - 8.6
Epicenter - Rima, Tibet (28.5°N 96.5°E)
Another one which happened on a national day of India - on the Independence day. Many parts of Assam and Tibet were severely damage to unknown proportions. However, Assam bear the most brunt of this quake than that of Tibet.
The after effects was a strong flooding situation which added to the already scary situation.
8) Assam Earthquake, 1897
Date - June 12, 1897
Time - 17 :11
Deaths - 1,500
Magnitude - 8.1
Epicenter - Exact location not known (26°N 91°E)
The north-eastern states of India fall under the zone 4 hazard seismic area. Zone 5 being the highest risk area and Zone 2 being the lowest. States like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh from the nort-east, Kashmir, and Gujarat all fall in the Zone 5 and are the most prone to earthquakes.
This earthquake affected India, Tibet, and Burma.
9) Uttarkashi Earthquake, 1991
Date - October 20, 1991
Time - Unknown
Deaths - >1,000
Magnitude - 6.8
Epicenter - Garhwal, Uttarakhand (30.780°N 78.774°E)
Lakhs of people became homeless and nearly 42,000 homes and buildings were damaged. As much as 1300+ villages were destroyed. Many were injured and the official death toll stood at 768 but there were many more deaths than that.
The whole of Uttarkashi region was harshly affected which is now known as Uttarakhand.
10) Koynanagar Earthquake, 1967
Date - December 11, 1967
Time - 04:21
Magnitude - 6.5
Epicenter - Koyna (17.4°N 73.76°E)
Koynanagar is the most seismically active area in the country. Koynagar has had a long history of earthquakes. As much as 20 known earthquakes have taken place at Koynanagar. The latest one being on 14th April 2014. It lies in the Zone 4 of the hazard zoning.
Of all of them the most severe one took place in 1967 with areas affecting to the tune of 25 kilometers with casualties of 180 and 1500 injured.
Earthquake zones of India
According to a recent study conducted by National Institute of Disaster Management about 59 percent of area in India is prone to earthquakes. India is divided into 4 seismic zones.
Zone 5 - Very High Risk Area - 11 % of land area in India is considered as high risk. List of states that fall in this zone are : Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, Central Kashmir, Central Himalayas, Northern Bihar, Rann of Kutch, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Zone 4 - High Risk Zone - 18 % of land area - Some parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Koynanagar in Maharashtra, and whole of Sikkim lie in this zone.
Zone 3 - Moderate Risk Zone - 30 % of land area - Some parts of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and the whole of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, and Kerala fall in the risk zone.
Zone 2 - Low risk Zone - 41 % of land area - See below map to know areas covered in this zone.