The Bay of Bengal was shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, said the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The earthquake occurred at about 12:35 p.m., plus or minus 10 minutes, and tremors were felt in Chennai, India. No injuries have been reported as yet and it is being speculated that this earthquake may be a precursor to a larger one that could cause major damage to coastal communities around the Indian Ocean region.
According to the national institute of seismology, along with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake occurred at a depth of about 504 kilometers, 400 kilometers from Chennai, India’s fourth-largest city in terms of population.
Earthquakes in this region are uncommon and no major earthquake has been recorded here before so far according to scientists. However, experts have already warned that due to the lack of seismological data, it is not practical to use any seismic activity or even geological data as a precursor for subsequent large quakes.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said that the quake was 5.7 on its Richter scale and its epicenter was 13 km deep in the Bay of Bengal. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that they would investigate this earthquake and provide further details.
Some people in Chennai reportedly could feel the tremors, but there was no panic. No traffic disruption has been reported as yet from the city’s residents or officials.
India lies in a highly seismic zone and is frequently visited by major earthquakes. According to India’s National Disaster Management Authority, the country is visited by an earthquake of magnitude greater than or equal to 6 every year.
A major earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale killed some 10,000 people in December 2004 near Sumatra-Andaman Islands region in the Pacific Ocean off the southwest coast of India.
The Bay of Bengal is located on the equator and this quake was about 600-700 km from Chennai.
The area where this earthquake occurred has been in a state of minor seismic activity, but today’s quake was considerably stronger than even some recent tremors near the region which were felt as far away as Kolkata, India.
The time of the earthquake was at about 6 pm this evening and the tremor lasted for a few minutes, according to some reports.