Delhiites were rudely woken up at 4.42 am on Monday by an earthquake with an epicentre near Haryana’s Bahadurgarh town, not far from the national capital.
“The earthquake though of low intensity, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, was felt very strongly by Delhiites because its epicentre was close to the Delhi-Haryana border and about 10 km from Bahadurgarh,” Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department R.C. Bhatia said.
“There is no record of a major earthquake with its epicentre in Delhi in the recent past. However records show there was an earthquake of 6.5 magnitude in Delhi in 1720,” he added.
Fortunately, there was no loss of life or reports of damage, except for minor cracks some buildings after Monday’s earthquake, he said.
People in Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad, Gurgaon also felt the tremors.
“Delhi and its surrounding regions are grouped under Seismic Zone IV, which is broadly associated with intensities of VIII on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale in which the highest intensity is XII. The highest intensity causes total damage and waves are seen on the ground,” Bhatia said.
Geological and remote sensing studies have indicated the existence of several lineaments, including the Mahendragarh-Dehra Dun fault in the west of Delhi and the Aravalli-Delhi fold belt, which are weak zones with the potential of producing earthquakes, he said.
There are other tectonic faults like the Sohna fault, hidden Moradabad fault in the Indo-Gangetic Basin, Sonepat-Delhi-Sohna fault and the Junction of the Aravalli and Sohna faults, he added.
Bhatia said Delhi has also been found to be seismically active on the microseismic level. Between 1963 and 1965, there were several small shallow earthquake activities near Sonepat.
Recently, the Jind region of Haryana witnessed an increase in seismic activity after the occurrence of an earthquake of 3.5 magnitude in Haryana in September, 2003.
“Delhi has experienced several earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 and above, which have caused loss of lives and damage to property,” Bhatia said.