A 5.7-magnitude earthquake of “moderate” intensity with its epicentre at the Indo-Nepal border region shook parts of north India on Monday evening but there was no immediate report of any loss of life or property.
The two units of Narora Atomic Power station in Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh, which is located in the seismic zone and around 450 km from the epicentre of the quake, were safe. There was some panic in villages in Indian side of the Indo-Nepal border.
Indian Meteorological Department officials in New Delhi and in Chandigarh said the quake measured 5.7 on the Richter struck at 5.02 PM and was of “moderate” intensity. However, the US Geological Survey Department in its website put the magnitude at 5.4.
“The quake was epicentred at Indo-Nepal border,” the the officials said, adding, “there is no fear of aftershocks.”
“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” they said.
Police and fire brigade said there was no report of any casualty or damage in Delhi after tremors were felt as far as the National Capital.
“The plants (at Narora) are safe and continued to operate safely,” N Nagaich, the plant’s Chief Executive, said.
The official’s remarks were reassuring as questions were raised about the safety of Indian nuclear power plants from effects of quake and tsunami in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan.
Officials and eyewitnesses said the tremor lasted between 3 and 30 seconds. There were reports of anxious people at several places rushing out of their homes and offices with the recent massive quake in Japan apparently weighing in their minds.
Besides Delhi, tremors were also felt in quake-prone Uttarakhand state, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and in the Union territory of Chandigarh.
The US Geological survey said the epicentre was 130 km from Haldwani in Uttarakhand and 363 km from New Delhi. The epicentre of the quake was at a depth of 12.5 km, it added.
The earthquake jolted Dehra Dun, Nainital and other parts of the hill state of Uttarakhand, according to preliminary reports.
The quake was felt for nearly 20 seconds in Dehra Dun, Nainital, Almora, Bageshwar, Pithoragarh, Udhamsingh Nagar and Chamoli.