A 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook northern India on Monday night. The tremors were felt in the states of Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. The epicentre of the earthquake lay near Beron Basti Haat Road in Rudraprayag district, about 60 km north of Srinagar (Uttarakhand) and 130 km northeast of state capital Dehradun. The quake originated about 15 km below the earth’s surface. There were no immediate reports of damage to life or property. The tremors were felt strongly in Delhi and the NCR.
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“The tremors felt in Delhi seemed much more than what is expected for a 5.8-magnitude quake, which is a moderate intensity earthquake. As of now, it is difficult to say why it was felt so strongly or whether it was indeed more than expected. We are still studying the characteristics of the quake,” Vineet Gehlot of the National Centre of Seismology said.
Panic-stricken residents ran out of their houses. In many colonies of Dehradun, men, women and children were seen hanging outside their homes in anticipation of aftershocks.
Soon after the quake, which took place at 10.33 pm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in multiple tweets, “Spoke to officials & took stock of the situation in the wake of the earthquake felt in various parts of North India. PMO is in touch with officials in Uttarakhand, which is the epicentre of the quake. I pray for everyone’s safety & well being.”
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat reached the disaster management centre at the state secretariat in Dehradun around midnight to take stock of the situation. He will hold an emergency meeting with the state Chief secretary, Disaster Management Secretary and other senior officers.
Earthquake tremors felt in Uttarakhand, people evacuated their buildings (Visuals from Dehradun) pic.twitter.com/WIiDo5wJz9
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 6, 2017
Political leaders took to Twitter to talk about the earthquake.
Spoke to officials & took stock of the situation in the wake of the earthquake felt in various parts of North India.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 6, 2017
Earthquake in Delhi NCR. I pray for everyone’s safety
I just wish and pray that everyone is safe & sound after earthquake tremors in Delhi – NCR. May God bless all!
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) February 6, 2017
Earthquake in Uttarakhand & other areas ..prayers for well being of one and All!
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) February 6, 2017
I hope everyone is safe #Earthquake
— Vijender Singh (@boxervijender) February 6, 2017
#Earthquake: Dear Delhi! Stay safe, pray that others are safe too🙏
— Dilip K. Pandey (@dilipkpandey) February 6, 2017
Be safe Delhi, stay alert. . #earthquake
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishraAAP) February 6, 2017
Some others found the humour in the situation, as Twitter always does.
It takes an Earthquake in Delhi to figure out “Oh this guy is my neighbor” 😂
— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) February 6, 2017
Twitter has recently replaced stairs as the first thing that people look for during an #earthquake
— Arijit Ganguly (@AriGanguly) February 7, 2017
The epicentre was not very far from Gaurikund, the base camp of Kedarnath shrine. “There were strong tremors for around 10 seconds. We came out of our homes, but thankfully there was no damage,” Rudraprayag-based farmer Bhupendra Bhandari told The Indian Express. “We spoke with our friends near Gaurikund —- they also felt the tremors, but there was no damage.”
From Ukhimath begins a steep ascent to Kedarnath. The river Mandakini had caused massive damage at Gaurikund in the June 2013 quake. The river has almost a vertical descent from Kedarnath up to Gaurikund, from where its gradient somewhat decreases. Uttarakhand is one of the most seismically active states in India and is no stranger to earthquakes of this magnitude. The region has experienced at least eight earthquakes of 5+ on Richter Scale since 2005, but none bigger than the one that came on Monday.