Great Assam Earthquake – 1897

On June 12, 1897 a violent earthquake of 8.7 magnitude struck Western Assam. Destruction was massive in an area covering entire North-East India and Bangladesh. The earthquake was felt and reported from all corners of India. Thousands of people died. Dacca, the current capital of Bangladesh witnessed great loss in terms of loss of human lives. Destruction of property was even worse areas affected by the Great Assam Earthquake.

The 1897 Assam earthquake was the first in Indian continent for which levels of shaking were documented in a contemporary earthquake report (Oldham 1899). The 1897 earthquake occurred on the SSW-dipping reverse Oldham fault, which forms the northern edge of the Shillong Plateau in the Indian Plate.  It raised the north edge of Shillong plateau by more than 10 meters. No surface rupture of any significance reported. But in terms of internal rupture, an area of about 550 km long and 300km wide ruptured. It is one of the greatest recorded earthquake ruptures in human history.

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