Natural Disasters

19 quakes strike Nicobar Islands within 10 hours

No casualties have been reported so far 

By Rajat Ghai
Published: Monday 01 April 2019

Nineteen earthquakes of various intensity rocked the Nicobar Islands in the early hours of April 1, 2019, according to media reports.

The first of the tremors was reported at 5.14 am and the last was reported at 1.41 pm, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

All 19 quakes were of light to moderate intensity, mostly measuring 4.8 or 4.9 on the Richter scale but two were above 5.

“Except for the news that has spread across the Union Territory, there is no panic,” Denis Giles, Editor of Port Blair-based daily Andaman Chronicle told DTE over the phone.  

The current quakes had mostly struck Great Nicobar. Giles said the area was mostly a tribal reserve and was thinly populated. "Since most of the tribals living there have single-storied dwellings, there is not much chance of major damage," he added.

“A process called subduction is the general cause of strains released during quakes,” veteran quake expert Harsh Gupta told DTE. “The current instance is most likely what is known as a swarm of quakes. A swarm usually subsides after sometime. However, we will have to watch and see for the next few days if this is indeed a swarm or is a pre-cursor to a larger quake. Usually a swarm has never led to a larger quake,” he added.

A similar swarm of quakes had been observed in January and February, 2019, in Palghar district of Maharashtra as well.

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