Eight tremors in a day rattle residents of Palghar village

Updated: Feb 14, 2019, 17:58 IST | Jane Borges and Samiullah Khan

While residents claimed the tremors began as early as 4 am, the India Meteorological Department recorded only two minor earthquakes -- one at 10.44 am and the next at 1.12 pm -- both ranging between 3 and 3.1 magnitude on the Richter scale

Eight tremors in a day rattle residents of Palghar village
A couple takes shelter under a makeshift tent in Dahanu. Pics/Hanif Patel

The villagers of Dhundalwadi in Dahanu who were fast asleep at 4 am on Wednesday, were shaken out of their beds, literally, by tremors that had returned after a two-week lull. By the evening, eight tremors had rattled residents of the village, which is at the epicentre of the earthquake 'swarms' that have rocked the region for the last three months.

While residents claimed the tremors began as early as 4 am, the India Meteorological Department recorded only two minor earthquakes -- one at 10.44 am and the next at 1.12 pm -- both ranging between 3 and 3.1 magnitude on the Richter scale.

Aashram School students were moved to a makeshift tent owing to tremors on Wednesday
Aashram School students were moved to a makeshift tent owing to tremors on Wednesday

Speaking to mid-day, Dr Prashant Narnaware, collector, Palghar district, said that there was only one minor earthquake recorded on the seismographs installed in Dhundalwadi by the IMD and National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad. However, residents insist they counted eight tremors till late evening.

Makeshift tents have been constructed outside homes, so that residents can seek shelter in them in case of a quake
Makeshift tents have been constructed outside homes, so that residents can seek shelter in them in case of a quake

"Tremors have become commonplace now. But, today was particularly worrisome. We have been feeling the tremors almost every hour," said Rajendra Sogale, 45, superintendent of the Aashram School, Dhundalwadi. Children from the school were later shifted to the ground, where class continued till 5 pm, in the makeshift tents set up by the school and the government.

The roof of one of the homes that caved in following the February 1 quake in the village.
The roof of one of the homes that caved in following the February 1 quake in the village.

Incidentally, one of the quakes occurred when Eknath Shinde, state PWD and health minister and Shiv Sena leader, was visiting the neighbouring village of Haladpada on Wednesday afternoon, to distribute ration and blankets to affected families. Among them were the parents of two-year-old Vaibhavi Ramesh Bhuyal, who died in a freak mishap when an earthquake hit the region on February 1. "The government is committed to helping the affected families. We have already put up temporary tents [made of tarpaulin and bamboo] in the villages, so that residents can sleep there in the nights," Shinde told mid-day.

According to Narnaware, the region has witnessed 40 earthquakes in the last three-and-a-half months. A total of 17 villages have been hit by unexpected shockwaves. "We consulted IIT-B experts, who told us that there was a dormant fault line in the region, which has suddenly been activated. The fault line has been releasing energy, causing the tremors. We are taking all necessary measures in case there is an earthquake of a higher magnitude. We have already undertaken a survey to find out the number of homes that have been damaged in the incident," Narnaware said.

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