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M6.1 Eastern Bhutan


21 September 2009


NNW of Drametsi, Bhutan


08:53 UTC (14:53 BTT)


27.346 N (NEIC)


91.412 E (NEIC)


14.0 kms (NEIC)


Mw 6.1 (HRV), 6.3 (NEIC)

Additional Info


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A strong earthquake (M6.0-6.9 termed as "strong") struck eastern Bhutan, on 21 September 2009 at 14:53 BTT (14:23 IST or 02:51 BDST). The earthquake had a magnitude of Mw=6.1 and caused damage as well as casualties in the Mongar and Trashigang Dzongkhags in Bhutan. Several aftershocks were felt in the region including a Mb=5.2 event on 29 October 2009 and a Mb=5.5 event on 31 December 2009.

If you felt this earthquake in Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, please let us know!

The epicentre of this earthquake was located 6.3 kms NNW of Drametsi, Bhutan,
14.3 kms W of Trashigang, Bhutan,
25 kms ENE of Mongar, Bhutan,
51 kms WSW of Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), India,
64 kms N of Darrang (Assam), India,
133 kms NNW of Guwahati (Assam), India,
153 kms NNE of Goalpara (Assam), India,
167 kms NW of Nagaon (Assam), India,
204 kms N of Shillong (Meghalaya), India,
282 kms NE of Rangpur, Bangladesh,
420 kms NNE of Dhaka, Bangladesh,
609 kms NNE of Kolkata (West Bengal), India.

At least 11 people were killed and as many as 18 injured by earthquake in Mongar and Trashigang Dzongkhags. Eight deaths directly due to the earthquake in Narang, Udzorong and Yangneer. At least four members of a road works crew were killed by a rock fall in Samdrup Jongkar Dzong on the Samdrup Jongkar-Trashigang Road while they attempted to clear a road blocked by the an earlier rock fall triggered by earthquake.

In Bhutan, as many as 1,100 houses were damaged with 405 in Trashigang dzongkhag alone. Buildings collapsed at Gyalposhing, Monggar, Narang and Yangneer in eastern Bhutan. Buildings also developed minor cracks at Phuentsholing. The Lhuntse Singye and Trashigang Dzongs were badly cracked while in Yangyner parts of the Ishemey Lhakhang collapsed. Damage was also reported from Chukka, Lhuntse, Trashiyangtse and Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhags. This earthquake was also felt strongly in Thimphu, sending people running outdoors but without doing any material damage. Minor damage was also reported from Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, Guwahati and Jalpaiguri in adjacent parts of India. Minor damage was also reported from Lhozhag and Tsona in Shannan County in Xizang along the border with Bhutan where as many houses were damaged.

In adjoining parts of India, tremors were severely felt in Assam including the capital Guwahati where several buildings, including a building in the Fancy Bazaar area, developed minor cracks. A seven storied building leaned to one side nearly touching the neighbouring block due to differential settlement in the city's Bangagarh area. Tremors were felt strongly in much of Assam including at Baksa, Chirang, Kamrup, Kokrajhar, Nalbari, Udalguri and to a much lighter extent at Dhubri, Dibrugarh and Jorhat. Tremors were felt throughout north-east and eastern India including Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim. In Meghalaya, it was felt at Shillong while in Arunachal Pradesh it was felt at Itanagar and Tawang. In West Bengal, there was panic in Cooch Behar while minor damage was reported from Alipurduar, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri. Tremors were also felt at Bamangola, Belurghat, Darjeeling, Gajal, Jalpaiguri, Habibpur, Harishchandrapur, Ingraj Bazaar, Kaliachak, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Malda, Ratua, Shiliguri, Uttar Dinajpur, Vaishnavnagar and even as far as Kolkata where some high-rise buildings were evacuated in the Rajarhat and Salt Lake City areas. In Bihar, it was felt at Araria, Bahadurganj, Katihar, Kishanganj, Madhepura, Patna, Saharsa and Thakurganj. In Bangladesh, the earthquake was felt in most districts including Dhaka, Faridpur, Netrakona, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Sherpur, Sirajganj, Sunamganj and Sylhet as well as in the cities of Chittagong, Dhaka and Sylhet. In Dhaka, its effects were mainly experienced by the occupants of tall buildings. Tremors were also felt to the north at Lhasa in Xizang, China as well as to the west in eastern Nepal.

This is the strongest earthquake in eastern Bhutan since a Mw=5.8 earthquake in the immediate region near Kangpar in 2006. It is also the strongest in the Bhutan-Sikkim Himalayas since 1980 and one of the deadliest earthquakes in the kingdom's history.

01) National Earthquake Information Centre (NEIC), Golden, USA.

02) Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solution (HRV), Harvard, USA.
03) Macroseismic information has been compiled by the ASC from reports by local media and local NGO personnel.

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Map Disclaimer
International boundaries 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 on this page via Google Maps, is only for display purposes and this should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of these boundaries by the Amateur Seismic Centre (ASC).

Page Updated: 02 Jan 2010 | Website Disclaimer

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