Mild tremors in parts of Salem, Dharmapuri and Erode districts triggered panic among residents in the wee hour of Thursday.
While in Erode the tremors measuring 3.2 in the Richter scale were felt only in Umareddiyur, Ammapet and Nerinjipet, in Bhavani taluk for around three seconds in the wee hours of the day, in Salem and Dharmapuri the reach was wider.
In Salem people in villages between Mettur and Thevatipatti (on Dharmapuri border) woke up to strong vibrations at around 3.50 am. Panic-stricken residents immediately rushed out of their homes in Omalur, Mettur, Mecheri Jalakandapuram and Nangavallai.
According to Ramalingam a resident in Kunchandiyur in Mettur it took about ten minutes to realise it was a tremor.
Revenue officials took stock of the situation and informed the Collector. Meanwhile, the seismograph installed at the Meteorological unit functioning from the Salem Collectorate recorded a tremor measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale. The tremor had lasted for a minute from 3.49 to 3.50 according to the seismograph record.
In Dharmapuri, residents of hilly areas in Pennagaram taluk remained outdoors braving the chilly weather till dawn break after they were woken up by the tremors. They returned to their homes only by 9 a.m.
The tremor was experienced in Thoppur, Kullathirampatti, Kurukkalaiyanur, Manjarahalli, Poochur, Piliyanur, Nagamarai, Hogenakkal, Oottamalai, Chinnappanallur, Ramakundahalli, Mathalappallam, Neruppur, Eriyur and Perumbalai Ghat section.
Residents said utensils began falling off the shelf due to the vibration caused by the tremors.
Officials in Dharmapuri said that walls of several houses in Kurkkalaiyanur village in Pennagaram taluk had developed cracks. Collector R Lilly has instructed the revenue officials to visit the spot and ascertain the impact tremor impact, sources said.