6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Myanmar
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar, sending tremors that were felt as far as West Bengal, Bihar and Assam in India. The quake struck 25 km west of the city of Chauk on the Irrawaddy River at a depth of 84 km. The quake shook several buildings in Yangon and officials had to evacuate offices and residential complexes in the city.
Myanmar: Susceptibility to seismic activity
Myanmar is earthquake-prone as it lies in the Alpine-Himalayan Belt, one of the two main earthquake belts of the world. 16 major earthquakes (>7.0 on Richter scale) have taken place in the region in the last 150 years. The subduction of the Indian Plate, under the Burma Platelet and the movement of the Burma Platelet along the Sagain Fault primarily cause these earthquakes.
The Alpine-Himalayan belt
The Alpine-Himalayan seismic belt runs across several mountain ranges from Eurasia to Southeast Asia; covering the Alps, the Carpathians, the Pyrenees, the mountains Iran, the Hindu Kush, and the mountains of Southeast Asia. It accounts for 17% of the world's largest earthquakes.
Previous earthquakes in the region
As recently as 13 April 2016, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck 135 km (84 mi) north-west of Mandalay. In India, 2 people lost their lives as a result and over 70 were reported to be injured. A 3.1 magnitude earthquake struck Myanmar on 23 August as well, triggering shocks in Assam in India.
Entire region affected
Reports said tremors were felt in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam. The tremors forced officials in Kolkata to shut down Metro services as a precautionary measure. Officials said that office buildings in Bangkok also shook due to the tremors. The Bangladeshi government also confirmed that the tremors were felt for several seconds in the country.
Effects of the quake
So far no casualties have been reported by officials. Officials in Myanmar said that several Buddhist temples and monuments in the ancient city of Bagan may have suffered structural damage. Authorities in Bangladesh said that 20 people were injured while fleeing a building in the capital, Dhaka. Soe Win, an MP from the Magway region said a Pagoda and building collapsed in Salay.