At least nine dead after 6.9 magnitude quake in India September 18
Northeast India suffered a strong earthquake earlier today – September 18, 2011 at 12:40:48 UTC – measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale. The quake left at least nine people dead – with four in India and five in Nepal reported at this time. It shook Sikkim in India, a landlocked Indian state in the Himalyas and the least populous state in India (a very densely populated country).
The epicenter of the quake was 68 kilometers (42 miles) northwest of the town of Gangtok in Sikkim, whose population is around 100,000 according to a 2011 census of India.
Tremors were felt in Lucknow, Patna, Kolkata, New Delhi and the National Capital Region.
Many buildings in Sikkim have developed cracks, including the Sikkim Manipal University building.
There is no electricity in Gangtok and Darjeeling. Telephone lines have also snapped in some parts of Sikkim; phone lines are congested in West Bengal.
Three aftershocks, of magnitude 5.7, 5.1 and 4.6 were also felt in Sikkim, says the India Meteorological Department.
The U.S. Geological Survey, which tracks earthquakes around the world, has this information about the quake:
Location 27.723°N, 88.064°E
Depth 19.7 km (12.2 miles)
Region Sikkim, India
68 km (42 miles) NW of Gangtok, Sikkim, India
119 km (73 miles) NNW of Shiliguri, West Bengal, India
272 km (169 miles) E of Kathmandu, Nepal
572 km (355 miles) N of Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India
Reuters further reports that five Indian Air Force planes have been pressed into action for relief operations. Small Army columns in Sikkim have also been mobilized. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has initiated an emergency meeting of the Disaster Management Authority.
Bottom line: A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck in northeast India today, leaving 9 reported dead so far.