Chandigarh/New Delhi: A 4.9-magnitude temblor shook the Indian capital and its adjoining areas Monday afternoon, startling people in offices and homes as the ground shook and windowpanes rattled. The quake, centred near Bahadurgarh town close to the Haryana-Delhi border, did not lead to any casualties.
The epicentre was just 35 km from New Delhi, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
“The Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) felt slight intensity tremors, which measured 4.9 on the Richter Scale. The epicentre was in the Haryana and Delhi region,” R.S Dattatryam, director, Seismology Division, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
According to the IMD, the tremor was felt at 1.11 p.m.
As the ground swayed, many residents and office-goers in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida ran out of their buildings into the open.
Sources in Rohtak said the boundary wall of a school in Mayna village of Rohtak district collapsed. The district authorities, however, could not confirm the incident.
Some people working and living in high-rise buildings in Gurgaon, which has the offices of several MNCs and leading Indian companies located there, were asked to vacate the buildings as the tremors were felt for over 10 seconds.
“Sitting in an office on the 12th floor in Nehru Place, I felt it very strongly like somebody shaking my chair. There was a general air of panic. Luckily there was no repeat tremor,” Mahi Singh, a MNC employer said.
“I was in bed recovering from surgery when I was shaken awake by the quake. I tried to rush outside, limping,” Ramkant Mahant from east Delhi said.
“All the small objects on tables started shaking, I felt it for over five seconds, followed by a rumbling noise,” said Rumu Banerjee of Chittaranjan Park in south Delhi.
Throughout the city, people called up relatives and friends, and asked after their well-being.The IMD official asked the public not to panic as it was a slight intensity tremor.
“It is a slight intensity tremor, which was felt in the Delhi and NCR areas. No infrastructural damage is expected from the tremor of such low magnitude. At most, there may be some plaster falling off in weak buildings,” Dattatryam said.
“The possibility of aftershocks are very minimal for such a low intensity quake,” he added.
However, the quake did not seem to have affected the concentration of students appearing for their board exams. Many, however, complained they were not given extra time to finish their papers disrupted by the 10-second tremor.
“We did not have the time to react as the main concern was finishing the Physics paper which was lengthy. We were left wondering what was the noise, and realised it was a quake,” said Mrinalini Mahajan who was writing her Physics paper in St Mary’s School in Dwarka area.
Smridhi Gupta was upset over not being allowed extra-time to revise her answers.
“We all were taken aback with the tremor. The windowpanes of the classroom were rattling. Though the tremor lasted only for ten seconds, it took us almost ten minutes to get back to writing. I wish we were given extra time,” Gupa said.
Another student who appeared for her board exam in Shri Ram School in Gurgaon said: “There was a bit of panic but we were done with the paper.”
Tremors were also felt in Indonesia and Argentina. “They were two separate quakes that shook Indonesia and Argentina at 12.25 p.m. and 1.16 p.m., respectively. They are not linked,” Dattatryam said.
“The epicentre in Indonesia was Northern Sumatra, while it was Santiago Del Estero in Argentina,” he added. The intensity of Northern Sumatra quake and Argentina quake was 5.1 and 6 on the Richter scale, respectively.