Strong earthquake in the Nepal-India border region

Nepali rice terraces in the vicinity of the earthquake epicenter of the Nepal-India earthquake April 4 2011 - Panoramio image courtesy Kishor -

Update 06/04 - 22:35 UTC : After  double checking our many information sources Earthquake-Report is happy to report that no people have been injured or killed by this shallow 5.4 earthquake (India and Nepal are maintaining the 5.7 magnitude)

Update 05/04 - 14:26 UTC : Nepalnews, a Nepali on-line-news source has reported (and as expected by earthquake-report) that the earthquake triggered landslides in various places in the hilly districts.

Update 05/04 - 12:15 UTC : @ Earthquake-Report, we feel always pity with people living in remote areas. They are mostly farmers, do not buy newspapers and do not have mobile or fixed line phones. These people are often the forgotten victims of earthquakes. The damage of their houses is often NOT registered and people tend to help themselves. We fear that this will be the case in this earthquake too. After initial reports in the local press, all reporting stopped. We would be grateful if at least one authority in Nepal would report on inspections in the rural areas.

Update 05/04 - 07:00 UTC : We have NO further information from the rural areas surrounding the epicenter. We have however NO information neither that their was no damage. We will continue to follow up this earthquake and bring further news when it becomes available.

Update 23:55 UTC : The Police Office in Bajhang, said it is yet to get reports of damage in the rural parts of the district.
2 houses collapsed in Mahadevsthan VDC in Baitadi.

Update 23:41 UTC : The Himalayan is reporting that at least 24 houses were damaged in the bigger Nepali valley towns in Bajhang, Baitadi and Darchula.  Earthquake-Report fears that the real damage might be occurred in some of the mountainous farmers villages. The epicenter was at least 30-40 km from these towns.
In this kind of shallow moderate magnitude quakes, the direct epicenter area is most at risk, not the greater earthquake area.
Houses in the area are mostly build of wood and mud, thus minimizing the chance on injuries. Few houses have been constructed with concrete. Let us hope that this Nepali earthquake will not show up in our deadly earthquake list of 2011.

Update 23:30 UTC : An aftershock of 4.3 magnitude was recorded a few minutes after the quake

Update 23:20 UTC : At the Indian side of the border, the quake jolted Dehra Dun, Nainital and other parts of the hill state of Uttarakhand. Doors rattled as people rushed out of homes and offices in panic. The quake was felt for nearly 20 seconds in Dehra Dun, Nainital, Almora, Bageshwar, Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar and Chamoli

Update 20:13 UTC : As said before there will be no news for many more hours from the remote earthquake area as it currently the middle of the Nepali-Indian night.

Update 20:11 UTC : NPC nuclear power plant at Narora, about 120 km from Delhi, continued to operate normally during and after the quake. It has to be sais that the epicenter of the moderate, but dangerous earthquake, was approx. 250 to 300 km distance from the power plant.

Update 15:40 UTC : As always the media is emphasizing that there are NO reports of damage or casualties, and this on a worldwide basis. Almost nobody is telling their readers that it is far too soon to talk about a non-damaging earthquake. As the epicenter is located in the pre-Himalayan hills it will take AT LEAST 12 hours to find out whether there is damage or injuries.

Update 15:36 UTC : As we like the technical way in explaining the Indian news report of the earthquake in Newsxlive, we are bringing it to our readers with pleasure. We do not agree however that it is not dangerous. This will certainly not be the case for India, but we still belive that the hilly region in Nepal is still at high risk for damage/injuries.

Update 15:09 UTC : The earthquake has been felt well in New Delhi which is at a closer distance then Kathmandu.

Update 14:49 UTC : This might be an interesting article in a news website in Nepali ?

Update 14:27 UTC : We have zoomed in to Google earth to check whether there are people living and working in the direct epicenter area (according the exact location of USGS).  The answer is Yes, there are cultured terraces in the immediate vicinity of the epicenter. Click here for the map.
The map shows also trails in the immediate vicinity but NO houses.

Update 14:16 UTC : Hanneke Barth wrote us via Facebook from Kathmandu, Nepal (see also at the bottom of this article) :
A friend felt it strongly in Nepalgunj, though only for a few seconds. The colleagues in Delhi felt it too. Here in Kathmandu we haven't felt a thing.
It happened two hours ago and it's dark now. So probably more news won't follow until morning.

Update 14:13 UTC : Based on theoretical data, this earthquake can cause fatalities. 32% chance on 1 to 10 fatalities; 15% chance to 10 to 100 fatalities and 50% chance on 0 to 1 fatality.

Update 13:55 UTC : Epicenter calculation is always very difficult. Most of the time, the local seismological services are placed best to locate the epicenter, based on their own calculations which can be compared very fast with local experiences.

Update 13:45 UTC : If  Search and Rescue teams would have to be transported to the earthquake area, the good news is that small STOL (short take off and landing) airplanes or helicopters can land in Darchula which is in the earthquake area (providing that the landing strip is not severely damaged). The bad news however is that this can only happen during daylight (tomorrow) as airplanes have to fly on sight.

Update 13:41 UTC : As the epicenter area has NO local press and is very far away from the capital Kathmandu, the news gathering in Nepal itself is far less as what you can read in earthquake-report. We do NOT expect that this changes rapidly.

Update 13:33 UTC : the greater epicenter area has only a few roads and mostly narrow trails which are being used by the local people to carry goods from 1 village to another.

Update 13:30 UTC : Based on our experience with earthquakes in similar areas, we expect that reports from the epicenter area will reach us only in 8 to 15 hours. It will be soon dark in the area.

Update 13:30 UTC : We do NOT expect major damage at the Indian side of the border, but we do expect serious damages in the villages near to the epicenter. The continuing data streams we are receiving are confirming the dangerous aspect of this earthquake.

Update 13:26 UTC : We especially fear  the very strong and the strong shaking values of VII and VI MMI.  Based on Armand knowledge and experience during the so many travels in Nepal, a VI MMI can cause already a lot of damage.

Update 13:24 UTC : USGS expects that 4,000 people will have experienced a very strong shaking. 128,000 a strong shaking and 1,225,000 people a moderate shaking.

Update 13:22 UTC : Contrary to what they normally do with earthquakes less than 5.5, USGS has published a pager map, indicating a few very bad figures (which we' will explain instantly)!

Update 13:18 UTC : The epicenter location (following the Nepali seismological Service) is close to Chhapari. Chhapari is a village of 2,227 inhabitants (361 individual households).

Update 13:15 UTC : Baitadi has a population of 5,352.

Update 12:44 UTC : The shaking lasted for approx. 15 seconds. This is an additional bad sign combined with the earthquake data. The longer the shaking takes, the more chance on damage.

Update 12:42 UTC : Based on Nepali Seismological service , the epicenter is located Chhapri in the Darchula district.
the tremor was also felt in the neighboring districts.

Update 12:39 UTC : EMSC has changed his earthquake data as follows : Magnitude : 5.6 - Depth : 15 km. A little better but still very dangerous.

Update 12:38 UTC : As you can see on the image, this is an extremely dangerous area for landslides. Farmers in this area are cultivating on terraces.

Update 12:33 UTC : Closest villages are : Athpali, Suadi, Mankot and Chaubisho

Update 12:28 UTC : The earthquake has been felt as far as New Delhi !

Update 12:23 UTC : We are currently trying to find out the situation as close as possible to the epicenter.

Update 12:18 UTC : EMSC maintains its data : 5.7 magnitude at a depth of 10 km

Update 12:16 UTC : Baitadi (Nepal) closest city to the epicenter

Update 12:05 UTC : USGS has confirmed the earthquake with slightly different parameters : Magnitude 5.4 depth 12.5 km. These data are better but earthquake-report predicts this earthquake to be very dangerous.

Update 12:02 UTC : The earthquake's epicenter should be at the Nepali side of the border , approx. 50 km from Baitadi

Update 12:00 UTC : The earthquake occurred 28 minutes ago

Update 11:59 UTC : 26 km SE Dashrathchand (pop 18,317)

Update 11:58 UTC : no confirmation from USGS yet

Initial text
A shallow and dangerous earthquake occurred in the mountainous India - East Nepal border area. Preliminary data locate the earthquake in a mountainous area, at least 50 km from the Nepali town of Baitadi. The earthquake is very shallow, what makes it (even at a magnitude of 5.4) extremely dangerous for the villages around the epicenter.
The earthquake seems to be very shallow - data has to be confirmed by at least 1 other seismological agency.
Preliminary EMSC data is depth : 10 km Magnitude : 5.7
Combination is these 2 numbers makes this earthquake extremely dangerous.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.4
UTC Time : Monday, April 04, 2011 at 11:31:40 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Monday, April 04, 2011 at 05:01:40 PM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 12.5 km (Very shallow !!)
Send an "earthquake experience report" for this earthquake
Geo-location(s) :
94 km (58 miles) NNE (25°) from Mahendranagar, Nepal
50 km from Baitadi, Nepal

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place
3-dimensional view of the earthquake area (USGS epicenter location)
USGS Impact on population map
USGS Shaking map
USGS historic earthquakes map
USGS Seismic hazard map

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a was also created by SOS Earthquakes. makes it easy to let the world know which shaking people have experienced during the earthquake. gives also the opportunity to write some additional text. Filling up the form takes only 1 minute. gives an overview of all the resent earthquakes and let you even go back in time and retrieve earthquakes of a certain date in the past. headlines on twitter
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  1. tell me ..what are the chances of next earthquake......i mean is it something serious?

    • Armand Vervaeck says:

      Nobody on the globe can tell you when an earthquake will occur. If earthquakes happened in your area before, it can happen again in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years, 50 years or not during your lifetime. A nice example is the deadly Myanmar earthquake : 100 years NO activity in that area and suddenly a deadly earthquake. But people did know that 100 years ago an earthquake struck at that fault line.

  2. Michael Dennis Stagg says:

    Good report, detail on effects and local shallow tremor observations. Thank you. Useful illustration, nice landslip picture, which was apparently the difference in Philippines recently, small 'quakes shallow effects soft soils and wet, big slides of sludge tearing out house foundations, fortunately no great bearing stress of light build in this Nepal case as you noted. Sorry about Japan we press on but reverse fault, shallow and deep trench, wide patterns and soils issues had been well documented and warned at the time. Tsunami Indian Ocean bed flip and volcanic eruption shear break shock produce some sudden sucking in of sea mass during slumps and recovery waves afterward, enhanced by inlet configuration and mangrove swamp beach offshore cresting into inshore low basins in the Indian Ocean disaster; the tsunami warning had been issued for Honshu Sendai prior to the event by the experts who monitor and advise and a fair part was foundation slip. As Peru went up so Sendai may have sunk for a while. As you note much of this is build type that has to be designed to fit the locale. We get it off Somerset and of course North Sea if the structures have failed, although mild the potential is there.Critical state (Kidson Bowen Watson Unwin UCW Geology Hutchinson Norway Chandler Petley). Mike