2009 Bhutan earthquake

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2009 Bhutan earthquake
2009 Bhutan earthquake is located in Bhutan
2009 Bhutan earthquake
UTC time 2009-09-21 08:53:05
ISC event 13788745
Local date 21 September 2009 (2009-09-21)
Local time 14:53:05
Magnitude 6.1 [1][2]
Depth 14 kilometres (8.7 mi)
Epicenter 27°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 affected Bhutan
Casualties at least 11 [2]

The 2009 Bhutan earthquake occurred at 14:53 local time on September 21 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 buildings in Guwahati, Assam, cracking up.[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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