GUWAHATI, May 11 � An earthquake of medium intensity, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, rocked the NE region around 6.11 pm today.
According to the sources in the Shillong-based Central Seismological Observatory (CSO), the epicentre of the earthquake was located near Nagaon in the State at Longitude of 26.6 degree North and Latitude 93 degree East.
The depth of the earthquake was found to be 20 km below the surface, said the CSO sources.
Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) authorities told this newspaper that the epicentre of the tremor was located 113 km east of Guwahati at Longitude 26.21 2 degree North and Latitude 92.873 degree East.
However, quoting the US Geological Survey report, ASDMA sources said that the magnitude of the tremor was measured to be 5.3 on the Richter scale.
Noted seismologist Prof Surya Kanta Sarma said that the earthquake occurred at the Kopili lineament, which is an active lineament and many earthquakes measuring less than 6.5 on the Richter scale occurred on this lineament so far.
ASDMA sources said that the Disaster Management Authority had received no report of any major damage caused to the structures by the tremor till the filing of this report at 8.15 pm. However, it has received reports of some minor cracks developing in two mosques, one each at Nagaon and Hojai, said the sources.
The tremor that shook Assam and adjoining areas this evening created panic in the city as well, compelling people in large numbers to rush out outside their homes and workplaces in a bid to escape the earth�s fury. Many people complained of dizzy spells during the quake.
Damages to buildings were also reported from different parts of the city. These included apartments, offices and business establishments. There was, however, no report of any injury to people attributable to the earthquake till the filing of the report.
Police said that they were receiving reports of damage to some buildings and that �those were being ascertained.� Vishal Mega Mart at Paltan Bazaar was among the high-rises where cracks were witnessed, police said.
Immediately after the tremor began, large crowds were witnessed on the streets with people getting down from multi-story buildings in their hordes.
�We felt a great shake, as the building seemed to sway from one side to the other. We were on the terrace and remained there till it calmed down. From there we could see many buildings in the vicinity trembling,� Rani Pathak, a resident of Panbazar said.
Rajiv Sarma, a young professional who works at Beltola area, termed it a harrowing experience and said that he had never felt the earth shake so hard. �We were on the top floor and really panicked. It was an instant reaction and all of us scurried down into the open,� he said.
The ongoing power cuts added to the panic. Many areas were in darkness when the quake struck. �We were terrified and confused during the tremor because there was no electricity. We just sat and prayed till it subsided,� a resident of Panjabari said.