Historical Intensity Maps
South Asia Seismicity
Tsunamis & Seiches
GSHAP Hazard Maps
Be Earthquake Safe!
"Republic Day" Earthquake, 2001
03:16:40 UTC (08:46:40 IST)
70.310 E (ISC)
7.7 (HRV), 7.6 (NEIC)
major earthquake struck Gujarat, India,
on 26 January 2001 at 08:46 AM local time
resulting in close to 13,823 deaths and extensive damage to property
in Gujarat, India. Damage to a lesser
extent also occurred in the adjoining states of Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra and Rajasthan in India and in Sindh province, Pakistan.
The earthquake had a magnitude of Mw=7.7
and was felt for several minutes in many parts of south Asia. This
is one of the largest instrumented earthquakes in peninsula India.
was centred 9.2
kilometres SSW of Chobari (Gujarat), India,
17.9 kilometres NNW of Bhachau (Gujarat), India,
44.0 kilometres NNE of Gandhidham (Gujarat), India,
46.7 kilometres NE of Anjar (Gujarat), India,
68.3 kilometres ENE of Bhuj (Gujarat), India,
86.9 kilometres NW of Morbi (Gujarat), India,
112 kilometres NNE of Jamnagar (Gujarat), India,
238 kilometres WNW of Ahmedabad (Gujarat), India,
292 kilometres SE of Hyderabad (Sindh), Pakistan,
371 kilometres SE of Clifton, Karachi (Sindh), Pakistan,
551 kilometres NW of Santa Cruz Airport, Mumbai (Maharashtra),
900 kilometres SW of Connaught Place, Delhi (N.C.R.), India.
Seismological | Damage -
(Causative fault, blind thrust event, ground motions):
Slippage is believed to have occurred on the south dipping North
Wagad reverse fault in the Kutch aulacogen or failed rift. This has
been further confirmed by aftershock studies
following the earthquake. Initial speculation held the Kutchh
Mainland Fault (KMF) responsible, however, further studies and field
observations show that it might have been caused on the previously
unknown NWF lying in the vicinity of the KMF. Slip is believed to
have totalled between 1 metre to 4 metres. The rupture is also
believed to have approached within 9 to 15 kilometres of the ground
surface. Earthquakes on unknown faults are not uncommon and have
occurred in the best studied places, such as the 1994 Northridge
earthquake in the heavily instrumented Los Angeles area. The
earthquake is an intraplate event, as it occurred within the Indian
plate, away from its edges. Others studies are also of the opinion
that the earthquake occurred in the diffused western boundary of the
A surprising feature of
this earthquake was the lack of a primary surface rupture, that
usually accompanies events of such large magnitude. This implies
that the earthquake was blind. Large blind earthquake have occurred
elsewhere in the world, such as the M7.4 El Asnam, Algeria
earthquake (1980) and the
M8.1 Assam earthquake (1897). Widespread ground deformation in
the form of lateral spreading and strike-slip faults were found as
well as local upwarping. Strike-slip faulting was recorded near
Bharodia and Manfara. Lateral spreading was observed at many
locations. Much of the ground deformation was concentrated near the
eastern edge of the rupture, north and north-east of Bhachau.
Features of this nature are commonly observed after thrust-faulting
Violent ground shaking was felt in Bhuj for nearly 85 seconds with
several minutes of lower level shaking. The duration of shaking at
Ahmedabad and Surat was around 90 seconds and was felt for a similar
length of time in other parts of India. A strong motion
accelerograph in Bhuj failed to activate due to a cable failure,
resulting in the loss of valuable scientific data. A similar
instrument in the basement of the Passport Office building in
Navrangpura, Ahmedabad recorded 0.098g. Using broad band velocities
recorded by the IMD at Bhuj and a rupture model based on teleseismic
data, an estimated value of 0.38g was obtained for Bhuj. Other
studies used finite fault models coupled with a teleseismic rupture
model to predict the peak ground acceleration and compared the
results with a known set of Mercalli intensities
derived from media reports for locations up to 700 kilometres
away. Predicted values were 1-3 units lower that the observed
Mercalli intensities and this can be interpreted either as local
site response or a media bias. However, they predict 80% of g at
distances up to 300 kilometres from the fault.
Top of Page
Shaking Effects (Within Gujarat):
The worst damage was caused in eastern Kachchh,
in the vicinity of the town of Bhachau which was almost completely
destroyed. Kachchh was cut off from the
rest of the country for more than 24 hours. At Anjar, much of the
old section of the town was destroyed. At least 143 students and
teachers, who were participating in a Republic Day parade were
killed at Khatri Chowk in Anjar, when buildings on both sides on the
narrow lane they were in collapsed. The larger towns of Gandhidham
and Bhuj were also badly affected. Many multi-storied buildings
collapsed, including the housing quarters at the Indian Air Force
base and the 8-storey Sahajanand Complex in Bhuj. The worst damage
was concentrated in the old city of Bhuj. Jubilee Hospital, the
main hospital in the city was levelled and so were many other
medical facilities across Kachchh. Many of
the injured were flown to Mumbai and Pune for medical treatment.
Relief was flown in by the Indian Air Force, from its bases in
Amritsar, Bhatinda, Chandigarh and Pune. Structures of historical
importance such as the famous Aina Mahal and the Kachchh
Museum were heavily damaged and partially collapsed. The Chhatris at
the Bhuj Fort were also either completely destroyed or very badly
damaged. The port of Kandla was closed following the earthquake.
About 2,000 metric tones of Acrylonitrate (ACN), a highly toxic and
flammable chemical leaked at the J.R. Enterprises Tank farm, Kandla.
Another tank, containing HEP (Paraffin) in the same tank farm also
leaked. Naphtha was released from a
ruptured pipe at the Indian Oil Corporation (I.O.C.) tank farm.
Ammonia was released at the Indian Farmer's Fertilizer Corporation
Limited (I.F.F.C.O.) due to the loss of air conditioning. No fires
were reported from industrial facilities. Sporadic damage occurred
all across Gujarat. At Morvi, many historic buildings collapsed and
heavy damage occurred at the famous Green Chowk market. The most
significant damage however, occurred in the two large cities of
Ahmedabad and Surat. In Ahmedabad, nearly 85 multi-storied
buildings, such as the 10-storey Shikhar Apartments and the
10-storey Mansi Complex, collapsed killing 700 people. At least 60
students died when the 4-storey, Swaminarayan Vidhyalaya school
collapsed in the Ghodasar-Isanpur area of Ahmedabad. Fires broke out
at a few locations in Ahmedabad, like at the collapsed Sangemarmar
Apartments. The famous Shaking Minarets in Ahmedabad were badly
damaged. The Nehru Bridge and the Chimanbhai Bridge, across the
Sabarmati River, suffered some damage. In Surat, a 7-storey
building, the Harekrishna Apartments collapsed. 18 people were
killed in stampedes in Surat's, Varachha and Wed Katargram areas.
Top of Page
Shaking Effects (Outside Gujarat):
Outside Gujarat, to the west, strong shaking was experienced in the
Indus delta and in the large cities of Karachi and Hyderabad.
18 people were killed in the Sindh. A
7-storey building, Ghousia Apartments collapsed in the city of
Hyderabad. Liquefaction, earthquake fountains and sandblows were
also reported from here. In Rajasthan, many buildings were badly
damaged, mainly at Bakhasar and Jodhpur. Many structures of
historical importance, like the Jaiselmer Fort, were damaged in
Rajasthan. Damage was also reported from Mt. Abu, Pokhran, Jodhpur,
Jaipur and Udaipur. In Madhya Pradesh tremors were felt prominently
in the Narmada Valley, as far as Jabalpur. In Maharashtra, buildings
developed cracks at many places in Mumbai and Vashi. A fire brigade
station suffered slight structural damage at Wadala, Mumbai. Tremors
were felt strongly in Mumbai, Pune and as far as Kolhapur. Beyond
these areas, the shock was felt to a limited extent
in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and
Bengalooru, and in high-rise buildings as far as Kolkata and New
Delhi. Long period effects such as a sensation of nausea / giddiness
among people and oscillating hanging objects were reported from many
parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Press reports from
Bangladesh, reported unusual drifts in rivers in the Sunderbans
following the earthquake. Even at locations over 1,000 kilometres
from the epicentre, ground shaking was amplified in recent sediments
resulting in locally moderate shaking. Such effects were experienced
in the Kaveri delta of Tamil Nadu, in the Bengal basin and in the
Kathmandu Valley in Nepal.
Top of Page
Effect on public infrastructure:
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (A.E.R.C.) reported no damage
from the nuclear power stations at Kakrapara (Gujarat),
Rawatbhata (Rajasthan), Tarapur (Maharashtra), Narora (Uttar
Pradesh), Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu) and Kaiga (Karnataka). The
Department of Atomic Energy (D.A.E.) said that the Kakrapara nuclear
reactor, at Anumala, near Surat withstood the earthquake and was
functional after the earthquake. The level of shaking is reported to
have reached 51.2 Hz, very close to the tripping level. Several
dams, such as the Suvi and Tappar Dams, were damaged in the
epicentral area. Nearly 200 dams were damaged and required to either
be repaired or strengthened. The intake tower of the Tapper Dam near
Gandhidham was heavily damaged. Water supply was disrupted in Kutchh
due to damage caused to the water pumping and pipe transmission
system. Two elevated water tanks collapsed in the epicentral area,
though 100 others survived without any major damage. 5 tanks also
collapsed in the Maliya-Morbi area. Such a structure was seen
swaying during the mainshock at Radhanpur. 16 out of 300 well
inspected following the earthquake had sulphur problems. Highways
were still functional. The Surajbari Bridge on National Highway 8A,
suffered serious structural damage and traffic movement was
restricted on it. A major power failure was experienced all over
Gujarat immediately following the earthquake. The power stations at
Wanakbori (1200 MW), Gandhinagar (450 MW), Dhuvaran (250 MW), AECO
(380 MW), Panendro (110 MW), Sikka (110 MW) and Gandhar (90 MW)
tripped. All 400 kV lines, except the 400 kV Indore-Asoj D/C and
Jhanor-Padghe line tripped. Due to this, the frequency jumped from
49.86 Hz tp 5.15 Hz, causing a throw of 3500 MW in northern and
central Gujarat and in Saurashtra. The Powergrid restored its lines
within 13 minutes while the NTPC was done in 2 hours. Due to the
immediate action by the Western Load Dispatch Centre of the Ministry
of Power, a complete collapsed of the western grid (covering
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Chhatisgarh and parts of
Rajasthan) was prevented. Telecommunication networks were
temporarily distrupted and the fiber optic lines severed. However,
services were restored by within a week as was a cellular phone
Top of Page
Sandblows occurred over a wide area in Gujarat and were even
reported from adjoining areas of Pakistan. A sandblow near Umedpur,
50 kilometres north of the epicentre, had a crater that was 10
metres by 5 metres across. Earthquake fountains were observed at
Jamnagar. The furthest liquefaction was reported at Bharuch and
Jambusar in south-eastern Gujarat. Liquefaction in the Great and
Little Ranns was extensive. Water levels in the salt pans in the
Little Rann rose dramatically and workers were forced onto the roads
which were at a slightly higher elevation. Liquefaction covered an
area of 10,000 square kilometres. Satellite images showed palaeo-channels
and water bodies in the Great Rann. It was initially speculated in
the press, that this was the reactivation of the Hakra river or the
mythical Saraswati river, a view which was not shared by scientific
data. Satellite images before and after the earthquake also showed
the emergence of land, on the shores of the Gulf of Kutchh, around
Kandla, a phenomenon which occurs only when there is a significant
reduction in tidal waves activity. However, tidal height data from
Kandla Port was not available following the earthquake. In the
waters of the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Khambat (also called
Cambay) chlorophyll and suspended sediment concentrations rose and
the fish catch off Daman in February was found to be double the
normal value for that time of the year. A rise of 2.5 centimetres in
the level of ground water was reported from Sola in Ahmedabad and
Gandhinagar. The temperature of the hot springs at Ganeshpuri in
Maharashtra's Thane district, rose from 35C to 75C. The level of the
water also rose by three feet. Ground waves were also reportedly
seen near Bhuj.
Top of Page
The strongest aftershock occurred on January 28, 2001 and was
centred near Bhachau. It had a magnitude of Mw=5.8
and caused widespread panic in Gujarat. People rushed out into the
open in Ahmedabad where the aftershock was felt for 30 seconds. It
was also felt at Jaiselmer in Rajasthan and as far away as Mumbai.
Many people were injured at Ahmedabad, in an M5.3 aftershock on
February 8, 2001, as they jumped from buildings in panic. An
aftershock on February 24, injured several people in Sindh, Pakistan
and caused some damage to buildings in the area.
Top of Page
Information on this page may be reproduced in print or
electronically but it is requested that a
citation be given to
this website in the form of a link i.e. "www.asc-india.org".
of India (especially Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) on the
displayed map are from Google Maps. These do not conform to the
external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India. That
they are displayed here via Google Maps, is only for informational &
display purposes and should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement
of these boundaries by the Amateur Seismic Centre (ASC).
01) National Earthquake Information
Centre, Golden, USA.
02) International Seismological Centre,
03) Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solution, Harvard, USA.
04) India Meteorological Department, Delhi, India,
05) Bendick, R., Bilham, R., Fielding,
E., Gaur, V., Hough, S.E., Kier, G., Kulkarni, M., Martin, S. and
Mukul, M., “The January 26, 2001 Bhuj, India Earthquake”,
Seismological Research Letters, 72, 3, 2001.
06) Gaur, V.K., "The Rann of Kutchh
earthquake, 26 January 2001", Current Science, 80, 3, pp 338-340,
10 February 2001.
07) Horton, S., P. Bodin, A. Johnston, M. Withers, C. Chiu,
A. Raphael, I., Rabak, Q. Maio, R. Smalley, J. Chiu, and C.
Langston, "Source characteristics of aftershocks of the India
Republic Day earthquake (abstract)", EOS 82, 5256, 2001.
08) Hough, S.E., and Martin, S. “Intensity Distribution of
the January 26, 2001 Bhuj, India Earthquake", Seismological
Research Letters 72, 3, 2001.
09) Hough, S.E., Martin, S., Bilham, R., and Atkinson, G.M.,
"The 26 January, 2001 Bhuj, India, earthquake: observed and
predicted ground motions", Bulletin of the Seismological Society
of America, v.92, 2, pp 2061-2079, 2002.
10) Iyengar, R.N., and Raghu Kanth,
S.T.G., "Strong ground motion at Bhuj city during the Kutch
earthquake", Current Science, 82, 11, pp 1366-1372, 10 June 2002.
11) Kearey, P., "The New Penguin Dictionary of Geology.",
Penguin Books, 1996.
12) Patterson, G., Rydelek, P., and Johnston, A.,
"Explosive cratering generated by the Republic Day Earthquake:
Sudden release of natural gas or sudden release of elevated
pore-water pressure", Seismological Research Letters, 72, 3, 2001.
13) Rajendran, K., Rajendran, C.P., Thakkar, M. and Tuttle,
M., "The 2001 Kutch (Bhuj) earthquake: Coseismic surface features
and their significance", 80, 11, pp 1376-1377, June 2001.
14) Saikia, C.J. and Polet. J. "Source
parametres of the January 26, 2001 Bhuj earthquake",
Seismological Research Letters, 72,
15) Singh, P.R., Bhoi, S., Sahoo,
A.K., "Significant changes in ocean parameters after the Gujarat
earthquake", Current Science, 80, 11,
pp 1376-1377, June 2001.
16) U.S. Geological Survey,
National Earthquake Information Center, Golden, CO, USA.
17) Press reports from January 27, 2001
to mid-February 2001.
18) Singh, R.P., Bhoi, S., Sahoo, A.K.,
Raj, U., and Ravindranath, S., "Surface manifestations after the
Gujarat earthquake", Current Science,
81, 2, pp 1364-166, July 2001.
19) Singh, R.P., Bhoi, S., and Sahoo,
A.K., "Changes observed in land and ocean after Gujarat earthquake
of 26 January 2001 using IRIS data", International Journal of
Remote Sensing, 2002, vol. 23, no. 16, 3123–3128, 2002.
20) Gupta, S.K., Bhandari, N, Thakkar, P.S., and Rengarajan,
R., "On the origin of artesian groundwater and escaping gas at
Narveri after the 2001 Bhuj earthquake", Current Science, 82, 4,
pp 463-469, February 2002.
21) A.S.C.E., "Gujarat (Kutch) India Earthquake of January
26, 2001; Lifeline Performance", Edited by John M. Eidinger,
Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering, Monograph
19, April 2001.
22) Ballantyne, D., "EERI Preliminary Lifelines Report;
Earthquake in Gujarat, India, Jan 26th, 2001", EERI Special
Reconnaissance Report, 2001.
23) Malhotra, P.K., "Industrial Facilities", EERI Special
Reconnaissance Report, 2001.
24) Dept. of Earthquake Engineering, "A Consolidated
Preliminary Report", Roorkee, June 2001. 25)
Yagi, Y., and M. Kikuchi (revised), "Results of rupture process
for January 26, 2001, western India earthquake (Ms 7.9)", 2001.
26) Election Commission of India (E.C.I.),
"Macro Overview of Economy",
Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State, 2001-02.
27) Wieland, M., "Earthquake
Safety of Existing Dams for Irrigation and Water Supply in Rural
Areas", International Commission on Large Dams (I.C.O.L.D.), 2001.
28) Stein, S, Schoonover, M., Sella, G., and Okal, E., ".Bhuj:
A Diffuse Plate Boundary Zone Earthquake", Geological Society of
America Annual Meeting, November 2001.
29) Rastogi, B.K., Mandal, P. and
Satyamurty "Intensity and Aftershock studies of the 2001 Bhuj
Earthquake of MW 7.7", Proceedings of the 12th Symposium on
Earthquake Engineering held at IIT Roorkee, December 2002.
30) Rastogi, B. K., "Ground Deformation
study of Mw 7.7 Bhuj earthquake of 2001", Episodes, 24, 160-165,