Earthquake Rocks Chiang Mai

 | Tue 6 May 2014 12:40 ICT

CityNews – On May 5th at 6.08pm a 6.0 magnitude earthquake shook northern Thailand at a depth of 7 km making this the worst earthquake to affect the north of Thailand for over 100 years media sources suggest.

Photo shared on social media…we cannot verify the ‘sauce’

The epicentre, just 11km from Chaing Rai, in the Mae Lao district, shook the north of Thailand reaching provinces such as Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Nan, Phrae, Phayao and Lampang. People in Laos, China, Myanmar and high-rise buildings in Bangkok also felt shockwaves.

The United States Geology Survey (USGS) downgraded the magnitude to 6.0 once testimonies from the local communities were received. The depth of the earthquake, at only 7 km makes it much more dangerous. It has been reported that it was a strike/slip earthquake along the Phayao fault, with the ground moving horizontally.

This earthquake comes after a much calmer quake in Mae Rim in 2006, with a magnitude of 4.6. Media sources are speculating that this earthquake is the biggest quake in the North of Thailand in the last 100 years.

The earthquake has affected buildings, road, energy sources and communication systems in a 24-kilometer radius that covers Phan, Muang Chiang Rai, Mae Lao, Mae suai and Wiang Pa pao.

Since the initial earthquake, many aftershocks have been felt, the most recent being this morning (May 6th), measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale. This has reportedly resulted in many people in Chiang Rai sleeping outdoors. Officials confirmed the death of one elderly woman (83) in the Mae Lao district, and at least 30 other injuries.

After initial seismology reports from the USGS, there was a prediction of over 100 minimum casualties and 300 minimum injuries. However, due to reports from locals and the short duration of the earthquake, these predicted numbers have been reduced. It has been described as a lucky escape, with experts saying that earthquakes at this magnitude that last over 30 seconds cause much larger amounts of damage.

Many people in the north have posted on social media that the quakes were very noticeable and merchandise fell from shelves at local shops and department stores. Photographs being shared, although not officially verified, show the extent of damage to roads, buildings and shops.

Thailand does not sit on a major fault line, so it rarely encounters such powerful inland earthquakes.

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