Accessibility links

Subcontinent Has Long History of Devastating Earthquakes


The earthquake that struck the Kashmir region of northern India and Pakistan is one of strongest in living memory. Yet, the Indian subcontinent has a long history of devastating earthquakes.

Two of the most deadly also measured 7.6 on the Richter scale, just like the current one.

The first, in 1935, killed 35,000 people when it struck Quetta in Baluchistan province of what is now western Pakistan. More recently, at least 11,500 people were killed in 2001 in the Indian city of Gujarat by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that also killed 20 people in southern Pakistan. That was also felt throughout the Indian sub-continent, including Bangladesh.

The most powerful earthquake struck in 1905 with a magnitude of 7.9, killing nearly 20,000 people in Kangra, a city in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

As long ago as 893, an estimated 150,000 people were killed when the city of Debal in modern-day Pakistan was destroyed. Other notable earthquakes occurred in 1945, when a magnitude 7.9 earthquake centered off the Makran coast of Pakistan killed at least 2,000 people in southern Pakistan and neighboring Iran.

In 1991, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the Hindukush mountains of Afghanistan took relatively few lives - about 400 in Afghanistan and another 300 in Pakistan and Tagikistan - but was felt as far away as New Delhi and Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

XS
SM
MD
LG