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Mw 6.9 earthquake strikes northwest Myanmar

14 Apr 2016

On 13 April 2016, a magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck northwest Myanmar. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the quake occurred at (23.133°N 94.900°E), approximately 396 km north northwest of the capital Naypyidaw, with tremors felt by residents in India and China.

Scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) have identified the quake as originating from the eastward-subducting plate beneath Myanmar at a depth of 146 km, about 10km deeper than reported by USGS. They also noted that the location of the quake is consistent with previous earthquakes in the region.

According to EOS seismologists Assistant Professors Judith Hubbard and Wei Shengji, this event is likely to be less damaging than a similar-sized shallow quake, even though the tremors produced were so large they could be felt as far as India and China. This is because earthquakes that occur deeper within the earth cause less damage at the surface.

Preliminary data from the Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) system estimated human loss to range from one to 10 fatalities. However, Asst Prof Judith advised that these early figures on the magnitude, depth and estimated fatalities are likely to be revised over time as more information is gathered by the experts.

Earthquake (M>4) distribution in Myanmar from 1960 to 2015 based on USGS catalog, colour coded by their depth. Red open circles are historical events with magnitude larger than 6.5. The recent earthquake is indicated by the red star.

 

Cover image: US Geological Survey