strong earthquake struck western parts
of Laos, including adjoining border regions of China, Myanmar &
Thailand, on 16 May 2007 at 08:56 UTC
time. It had a magnitude of
Mw=6.3 and was felt over a wide swathe of the Indo-China peninsula causing
damage. A Mb=4.5 tremor occurred in the immediate region 19-hours
prior to this event. The Mw=6.3 earthquake was followed by at
least one aftershock for magnitude Ms=4.5 at 09:31 UTC.
The earthquake was centred
13.2 kms ENE of Ban Mone (Bekeo Province), Laos,
19.5 kms W of Ban Ta Fa (Bekeo Province), Laos,
38.1 kms WSW of Ban Muang Kan (Chiang Rai Province), Thailand,
56.5 kms ESE of Wan Kawkaw (Shan
85.1 kms WNW of Muang Houn (Oudomxai
92.5 kms SW of Louang
Namtha (Louang Namtha Province), Laos,
143 kms NE of Phan (Chiang
163 kms WNW of
Louangprabhang (Louangprabhang Province), Laos,
258 kms NE of Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai Province),
342 kms NW of Vientiane (Viangchan Province),
385 kms E of Taungyi (Shan State), Myanmar,
539 kms W of Hanoi (Ha Noi Province), Vietnam,
759 kms N of Suvarnabhumi International
Airport, Bangkok, Thailand.
The earthquake was
felt strongly in western Laos,
especially in the provinces of Bekeo,
Louang Nampha and Oudomxai.
Several buildings were damaged, including four temples, two stupas
and two schools at Houayxay and Pakhta in Bekeo Province. Many people were frightened and went outdoors at
Oudomxai town in the province of the same name, where it lasted close to
10-seconds. Parked cars were seen shaking in
Oudomxai. It was also felt strongly at
Nampha in the
Louang Nampha province; people ran outdoors and one eyewitness saw
"produce" falling from shelves.
Some residents of
Louang Prabhang reported feeling tremors and
experienced spells of dizziness, that are associated with distant
long-period effects of large earthquakes, for close to 2-minutes.
Mild tremors were also felt in multi-storied buildings as far as the capital, Vientiane.
Strong tremors were also experienced in northern Thailand. In the
Chiang Saen district, bricks and cement were dislodged from the
thousand year old Wat Prathat Chedi Luang Pagoda. A spire on the
top of Wat Phra That Jomkitti Pagoda and the lotus-shaped tip of Wat
Pasak Pagoda were knocked down. Cracks developed in the Jomkitti Pagoda. Buildings were shaken strongly in Chiang Rai,
knocked hanging objects off walls. In the Mae Rim district,
loose objects were thrown off shelves.
The 5-storey Prachanukroh
hospital was vacated and later declared off limits.
Seismic seiches were
observed in swimming pools in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. In the Muang district,
the quake rattled
windows and many people ran outdoors. Tremors were felt in much of the northern
provinces of Chiang Mai, Lampang, Nan and Phayao. Locals and
tourists rushed out of buildings in the city of Chiang Mai where
the quake was reported to have been felt for close to a minute.
The earthquake was also felt hundreds of kilometres to the south
in the capital, Bangkok. Several high-rise buildings, including
the offices of the Xinhua news agency and the Swedish Embassy, were evacuated, especially
in the Klong Toey, Phayatai, Phetchaburi, Sathorn, Silom,
Sukhomwit and Vipavadi. In an isolated incident, window panes were
reportedly damaged in the top floors of the MBK building on Siam Square.
On 26 May 2007, a 2-storey building that was part of a Tourist
Information Centre and damaged in the earthquake, collapsed in the
Mae Rim district but did not cause any injuries. The structure had
been evacuated after it subsided during the 16 May earthquake.
Elsewhere in the region, strong tremors were felt in Dien Bien
Province in north-western Vietnam.
Tremors were also felt hundreds of kilometres away to the east in
high-rise buildings in Hanoi, Vietnam; the shocks were most
distinctly felt in the central districts
Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung
and Hoan Kiem. People
in the Vincom twin
towers on Ba Trieu
street, the Melia and
Daewoo hotels, the Hoa Binh Tower on
Hoang Quoc Viet street, the Tungshing
building on Ngo Quyen, and the Prime Centre
left their buildings but later returned to work. In the Vincom
twin towers, computers, furniture and window blinds rattled and
sent office workers rushing outdoors. Tremors were also felt in
Jinghong in China's Yunnan Province rattling windows for close to a minute. The
effects of this earthquake in adjoining parts of the Shan State in
Myanmar are unavailable.