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M6.4 Chamoli Earthquake, 1999


28 March 1999


SW of Bangina, Uttarakhand


19:05:12 UTC (00:35:12 IST) 


30.511 N (ISC)


79.421 E (ISC)


22.9 kms (ISC)


Mw=6.4 (NEIC)

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A strong earthquake struck the Gharwal Himalayas near Chamoli in Uttarakhand on 29 March 1999 at 00:35 AM local time. It had a magnitude of Mw=6.4 and resulted in damage & fatalities in the region.

The earthquake was centred 6.1 kms SW of Bangina (Uttarakhand), India,
13.9 kms NNE of Chamoli (Uttarakhand), India,
14.5 kms WSW of Joshimath (Uttarakhand), India,
26 kms SSW of Badrinath (Uttarakhand), India,
49.3 kms NE of Rudraprayag (Uttarakhand), India,
73.7 kms NE of Pauri (Uttarakhand), India,
102 kms NNW of Almora (Uttarakhand), India,
134 kms ENE of Dehradun (Uttarakhand), India,
296 kms NE of Connaught Place, Delhi (Delhi), India.

If you felt this earthquake in India, Nepal or Pakistan please let us know.

106 people were killed and 453 were injured in the districts of Bageshwar, Chamoli, Pauri Garhwal, Rudraprayag and Tehri Garhwal in Uttarakhand, India. Two deaths were reported at Nakodar in Punjab and one at Ambala in Haryana. Damage (EMS 8) occurred at Chamoli, (EMS 7) at Agustmuni, Bairagna, Gopeshwar, Nandprayag, Pipalkoti & Tapowan, (EMS 6) at Bhatwari, Dehradun, Devaprayag, Ghansali, Karnprayag, Mussourie, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Ukhimath & Uttarkashi. Damage (EMS 5) also occurred in Delhi where
a few modern high-rise apartment buildings, such as Tarang Apartments in the Patparganj area, suffered slight damage. Shastri Bhavan also suffered some non-structural damage. The earthquake was felt at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, at Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, at Jaipur in Rajasthan, at Lucknow, Kanpur & Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, at Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir, at Chandigarh and even as far as Pune in Maharashtra.

Strong aftershocks shook the region for several months, some of which were even experienced as far as New Delhi. A magnitude 5.0 aftershock struck the region on 31 March 1999, at 02:30 am (local time / IST) injuring 50 people in Chamoli district. Many damaged buildings collapsed at Maithana village and 20 houses collapsed at Kotiyal village on the outskirts of Chamoli town. A magnitude Mb=5.5 aftershock on the same day at 22:54 IST was felt as far as New Delhi. 1 person was killed and several were injured in Pipalkoti village, when a house collapsed in a magnitude 4.8 aftershock that struck at 02:10 IST, on 1 April 1999.

Strong ground shaking occurred at Chamoli, Gopeshwar and the neighbouring areas. Accelerographs maintained by the University of Roorkee recorded a maximum peak horizontal ground acceleration of 0.352 at Gopeshwar, 0.096g at Ukhimath, 0.063g at Joshimath and 0.062g at Tehri. Gopeshwar was located 12.4 kilometres from the epicentre. Strong ground shaking was also recorded in the plains of north India. The Delhi Strong Motion Network (DSMA) recorded 0.046g at Roorkee in Uttarakhand and 0.043g at Panipat and 0.014g at Baghpat in Haryana. Within the city of Delhi, a maximum peak horizontal acceleration of 0.015g was recorded in East Arjun Nagar, 0.011g at Lodi Road and 0.010g at Rafi Marg.

Abridged from:
Arlekar, J.N., Jain, S.K., Murty, C.V.R., Rajendran, C.P., Rajendra, K., and Sinha, R., "Chamoli (Himalaya, India) Earthquake of 29 March 1999", EERI Special Earthquake Report, EERI Newsletter, 33, No. 7, July 1999.

Martin. S., and W. Szeliga, A catalog of felt intensity data for 589 earthquakes in India, 1636-2009, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 100, 2, pp. 536-569, 2010

Pandey, Y., Dharmaraju, R., and Chauhan, P.K.S., "Estimation of source parameters of Chamoli Earthquake, india", Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. (Earth Planet Sci.), 110, No. 2, pp 161-169, June 2001.

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