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Why today’s earthquake – 1,200 km away – was felt in Delhi

The earthquake, measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre at a place about 50 km southwest of the city of Jarm near Afghanistan's border with Tajikistan.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: December 26, 2015 2:38:26 am
earthquake, delhi earthquake, earthquake in delhi, delhi quake, delhi earthquake epicenter, today earthquake epicenter, earthquake center, today earthquake center, earthquake news, delhi news People rushed out of their houses and offices as the earthquake shook Delhi NCR region. (AP Photo)

Almost exactly six months after the Nepal earthquake that killed nearly 10,000 people, an earthquake of similar magnitude hit north-west Afghanistan today, tremors of which were felt through most of north India, including New Delhi.

Today’s earthquake, measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre at a place about 50 km southwest of the city of Jarm near Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan. The place is about 254 km north-east of Kabul. The earthquake originated about 210 km below the earth’s surface.

READ: Earthquake in Afghanistan shakes Delhi, rest of north India

Powerful tremors of the quake were felt in the entire northern India for several seconds, bringing back the memories of the April 25 earthquake of Nepal that was measured at 7.8 on the Richter scale. The Nepal earthquake originated around 10 km below the earth’s surface.

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“The reason why northern India felt today’s earthquake despite being so far away from the epicentre — Delhi is at least 1,200 km away — is the great depth at which it originated. The wave created by the tremors spread to a much larger area if the depth of the epicentre is more. The terrain in Afghanistan extending into northern India has lots of solid rocks, which are conducive to wave propagation,” said Ajay Paul of the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.

Afghanistan and Nepal are part of the same Himalayan seismic zone that extends from the Hindu Kush region in the west to the Arunachal Pradesh in the east and carries on down towards southeast Asia. The region is in seisimic terms very active and the Nepal earthquake was the biggest in the Himalayan region after 1950.

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