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Earthquakes destroyed Guwahati

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In the past month, several small earthquakes have been reported from in and around Assam. Although the tremors felt are minimal, speculation indicates that a major earthquake can be expected

In light of this fear, let us recall the two most devastating earthquakes that originated the region in the past two centuries and their impact on Guwahati – the first in 1897 (also known as the Great Assam Earthquake), the other in 1950.

Although significant losses were recorded during the two earthquakes, it can be said that the damage in the 1950 earthquake was minimal compared to the damage that occurred in the previous earthquake.

On the evening of June 12, 1897, at around 5:15 pm, when the residents of Guwahaten celebrated Muharram, an earthquake shook the entire northeastern region. Its intensity scored 8.7 on the Richter scale and was centered in Cherrapunji. The actual earthquake lasted about two and a half minutes. The initial shock was preceded by an underground roaring noise that lasted about 3 minutes.

Edward Albert Gait, an Indian civil service official wrote in his book on the history of Assam, “Signs of some impending change could be felt from June 10 onwards, as the sky was covered with sudden dark clouds. The torrential downpours continued from the afternoon of June 12 until The next day “.

The earthquake left an area of ​​150,000 square miles in ruins and was felt by more than one and a quarter million square miles from the western Burma border to nearly New Delhi. The earthquake was accompanied by a very pronounced ripple of the ground, and various calculations place the lengths of these ripples from 8 feet to 10 yards, and heights of 1 to 3 feet.

The Brahmaputra rose by 7.6 feet and flows near the banks. Dead fish, dolphins, and turtles are floating in great numbers, hampering all types of river transport. The path along the river receded in several places. In a few other places, bubbles appeared of very fine sand, Portland cement color, and the bubble lasted for 24 hours.

In Guwahati, the railways in many places disappeared, and cracks appeared on the roads. A large crack has formed in the Strand Road (now MG Road), from Sucreswar Temple to Paralumukh. The temple on Umananda Island (then called Peacock Island) suffered hard along with the Sucreswar Temple, Christ Church and Supreme Court buildings. But the North Brook Gate remained intact without any visible damage.

A total of 1582 deaths were recorded, 5 from Guwahati. The areas of Anil Nagar and Bhangagarh were highlands before the earthquake but retreated significantly after the earthquakes.

The newly constructed Guwahati railway station was in disarray and rebuilding only began after two years. Even building a cotton college had to be halted for two years.

The Great Assam earthquake was followed by another major earthquake on the 15th of August 1950 at approximately 7:40 pm. The epicenter is located in Mishme Hills, east of the Himalayas in the northeastern part of the Border Agency in Assam. The main tremor, measuring 8.6 on the Richter scale, lasted about 4 minutes. It was followed by several minor tremors every 5 to 10 minutes.

Although its impact in the state was limited, about 1,526 deaths were recorded. Water levels in the Brahmaputra River rose after the earthquake, dropping sand, mud, trees and all kinds of debris. Pilots flying over the Mesozoic zone (the zone of maximum damage) reported major changes in terrain.

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