Srinagar earthquake: Experts still not certain on epicentre

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Seismology experts in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday said they are “still analysing the data and facts” to ascertain the exact epicentre of the 3.6-magnitude earthquake in Srinagar on Tuesday.

Speaking with the Greater Kashmir, noted Seismologist Dr Bikram Singh who teaches at the Earth Sciences department at Kashmir University said his team has collected data from 10 to 15 data stations to “confirm the exact epicentre location of the earthquake”.

“We have data stations at several places from which data has been collected. In fact, I visited the place which the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) of Ministry of Earth Sciences has indicated as the origin of the earthquake,” said Dr Singh.

It may be recalled that the preliminary earthquake report by NCS issued late Tuesday night was inconclusive in mentioning the epicentre. The report had mentioned “location as 11 kilometres north west of Srinagar lying 5 kms deep.”

Dr Singh added: “Kashmir lies on several faultlines and any friction or movement of these faultlines can lead to tremors.”

Another expert from Jammu University, wishing not to be named,

said they are continuously receiving data related to tremors of Tuesday’s event and “would be in a position to pinpoint the epicentre in next few days.”

Panic gripped the Valley on Tuesday night after a 3.6 magnitude earthquake was reported at 9:40 pm. Strong tremors rattled summer capital Srinagar which lasted for two to three seconds. As the tremors created panic, people moved out of their homes and were seen making frantic telephone calls to near and dear ones. “It took me a while to realise that this was an earthquake as the overhead power transmission wires did not shake which is how it is incase of an earthquake,” said Basit Ahmad of Hyderpora.

While the confirmation of the earthquake came in almost 20 to 30 minutes after the tremors, it gripped people in suspense. Within no time social media became abuzz with messages and posts related to the earthquake.  “Hope all well in Kashmir. Heard of a massive blast/quake (supposedly). No clarity. Heard most people out of their homes ,” wrote a Mumbai-based Kashmiri journalist on Twitter.

One more tremor of low intensity was again felt at 11:20 pm. The tremors caused panic among the people, many of whom took to social media to share their experiences. “I am presently in Kashmir and the jolt we felt was definitely not of 3.6 magnitude. Our houses shook,” wrote Raheel Khan, a journalist, on Twitter.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Shahid Choudhary, also took to Twitter and wrote: “The “earthquake like situation” confirmed by seismologists as an actual earthquake of magnitude 3.6, epicentre close to us.”

Another Twitter user wrote: “It felt very different since I’ve seen them frequently here. #Kashmir falls in Seismic Zone-4. It felt like someone hammered the earth.”

A notification in August issued by the Indian Air Force about ammunition exercises also started doing the rounds of WhatsApp and people said it could be a war exercise.

Some netizens, tongue firmly in cheek, said the Jammu and Kashmir administration was testing the restoration of 4G internet service, resulting in shocking the entire Union Territory.

The union territory, except for Ganderbal in Kashmir and Udhampur in Jammu, has been operating on 2G internet services since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year.

There were no reports of any casualties or damage to property from the tremors on Tuesday night. (With PTI inputs)