VISAKHAPATNAM: Mild tremors were felt in parts of Vizag following a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in the Bay of Bengal about 250 km south-south east off Razole and 330 km east off Ongole.
The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) said it was a rare occurrence in the east coast, particularly Andhra Pradesh.
However, there was no need to panic as the quake was only a deep sea activity and not a land-related activity. The earthquake occurred at 12.35 pm at a depth of 10 km in the Bay of Bengal, said the National Centre for Seismology (NCS).
According to the Cyclone Warning Centre in Visakhapatnam, there was no impact of the earthquake as it only measured 5.1 on the Richter scale.Cyclone Centre officials said they received phone calls from people in Seethammadhara in the city saying that they felt mild tremors for a few seconds. The tremors were also felt in Gurudwara and MVP Colony in the city.
“I was sleeping on the sofa when I felt mild tremors. It was just for a few seconds. I realised that it was an earthquake only after seeing the news on TV,” said N Sriram of MVP Colony. There were no reports of any tremors from East and West Godavari districts.
Speaking to TNIE, NIO regional head and chief scientist GPS Murthy said Tuesday’s earthquake off the Ongole coast has opened a new chapter for study in tectonics of the east coast.
“This is the first time that an earthquake of 5.1 magnitude on the Richter scale occurred in the deep sea close to the east coast. In large ocean depths, earthquakes are very rare on the east coast. Though there is no need for concern for the public, the quake is really a concern from a scientific point of view,’’ he said.
An earthquake of 5.5 magnitude occurred at Puducherry coast in 2001. In 2014, there was an earthquake off Odisha coast which was less than 5 magnitude on the Richter scale. It is now the first quake of above 5 magnitude in the deep sea off the east coast. Andhra Pradesh coast has never witnessed any earthquake in the deep sea. Sumatra is a known tectonic zone where a series of aftershocks are reported quite often.
There is no recorded tectonic activity off the coast though there are structural activities. It has nothing to do with land related activity and it is only deep sea activity, which needs to be re-examined,’’ he added.
Regarding sea surge and withdrawal at Uppdada and other areas in the coastal areas, he said they are localised phenomena and not related to the quake,” he said.
Murthy said stress accumulations in the region were not reported in any of the research documents of the NIO. However, they need to identify reasons why it happened. “It is completely a virgin area off the coast where there is no record of any activity. It opened a new pandora’s box we have to focus on to know whether any new tectonics are emerging. The NIO will undertake a study to know the reason for the earthquake in the deep sea,’’ he added.