2009 Bhutan earthquake

2009 Bhutan earthquake
2009 Bhutan earthquake is located in Bhutan
2009 Bhutan earthquake
UTC time2009-09-21 08:53:05
ISC event13788745
Local date21 September 2009 (2009-09-21)
Local time14:53:05
Magnitude6.1 [1][2]
Depth14 kilometres (8.7 mi)
Epicenter27°20′46″N 91°24′43″E / 27.346°N 91.412°E / 27.346; 91.412Coordinates: 27°20′46″N 91°24′43″E / 27.346°N 91.412°E / 27.346; 91.412
Areas affectedBhutan
Max. intensityVI (Strong)
Casualtiesat least 11 [2]

The 2009 Bhutan earthquake occurred on 21 September at 14:53 BTT (08:53 UTC) in the eastern region of Bhutan with moment magnitude of 6.1. The epicenter was situated at 180 kilometres (110 mi) east of the capital Thimphu, in Monggar District.[3] However, Bangladesh and northern India also felt it, with residents in Guwahati, Assam reporting cracks in buildings.[4] The tremors were felt as far as Tibet.[5]

At least eleven people are reported to have been killed—seven in Bhutan, four in India.[2] The death toll, initially ten, increased when one more died in the night.[6][7][8][9] At least fifteen were wounded.[2] Many of the deaths in Bhutan came about when their houses fell in on top of them.[2] The Indians were construction workers whose road fell through.[2]

One businessman said the earthquake happened as shopping was underway for the Blessed Rainy Day ceremony of Buddhism.[4] Another inhabitant said it "made the surrounding hills look like they were throwing up dust" and that "the road was suddenly filled with boulders and mud".[2] Thousands are living outdoors as a result.[4] Children were crushed under structures as they caved in.[4] Roads were blocked but these were cleaned up relatively quickly.[4] Monasteries were also struck.[9] People ran for their lives out of their homes.[9]


There were at least seven aftershocks.[2]

An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale was heard in Myanmar and the northeast Indian states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur and the following day.[1]


Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Thinley said the earthquake was "one of the biggest disasters in recent times".[4] He also said the length of the earthquake (95 seconds) was "very long".[4] He and his home minister embarked on a visit to the region.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Another tremor jolts northeast, Monday's quake toll 11". The Times of India. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Wasbir Hussain (2009-09-22). "Strong earthquake kills 12 in Bhutan". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  3. ^ USGS profile Archived 2009-10-07 at the Wayback Machine. United States Geological Survey.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bhutan PM laments quake disaster". BBC. 2009-09-23. Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  5. ^ Seven dead as quake rocks Bhutan, India and Tibet. Earth Times. September 21, 2009.
  6. ^ Earthquake kills at least 7 in Bhutan, shakes Assam. The Indian Express. September 21, 2009.
  7. ^ Earthquake hits Bhutan Archived 2009-09-26 at the Wayback Machine. Bhutan Broadcasting Service. September 21, 2009.
  8. ^ Bhutan hit by strong earthquake September 21, 2009. BBC.
  9. ^ a b c "Bhutan quake: Death toll rises". Independent Online. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2009-09-23.

Further reading

  • Kayal, J. R.; Arefiev, Sergei S.; Baruah, Saurabh; Tatevossian, Ruben; Gogoi, Naba; Sanoujam, Manichandra; Gautam, J. L.; Hazarika, Devajit; Borah, Dipak (2010), "The 2009 Bhutan and Assam felt earthquakes (Mw6.3 and 5.1) at the Kopili fault in the northeast Himalaya region", Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk, 1 (3): 273–281, doi:10.1080/19475705.2010.486561

External links

  • Wikinews-logo.svg Ten dead after earthquake in Bhutan at Wikinews
  • The International Seismological Centre has a bibliography and/or authoritative data for this event.
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