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1934 Bihar earthquake

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Title: 1934 Bihar earthquake  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Bihar, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Sitamarhi, Begum Akhtar, Muzaffarpur, Jagjivan Ram, List of earthquakes in South Asia, Krishna Singh (politician), Rajnagar Bihar, Raj Darbhanga
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1934 Bihar earthquake

1934 Bihar earthquake
1934 Bihar earthquake
Date January 15, 1934 (1934-01-15)
Origin time 8:43 UTC
Magnitude 8.1 Mw
Depth 33 km

27°33′N 87°05′E / 27.55°N 87.09°E / 27.55; 87.09Coordinates: 27°33′N 87°05′E / 27.55°N 87.09°E / 27.55; 87.09

Countries or regions India, Nepal
Max. intensity XI (Extreme)
Casualties 10,600

The 1934 Bihar earthquake was one of the worst earthquakes in India's history. Munger and Muzaffarpur were completely destroyed. This 8.1 magnitude earthquake occurred on January 15, 1934 at around 2:13 PM (I.S.T.) (08:43 UTC) and caused widespread damage in the northern Bihar and in Nepal.[1]


The epicentre for this event was located in the eastern Nepal about 10 km south of Mount Everest. The areas where the most damage to life and property occurred extended from Purnea in the east to Champaran in the west—a distance of nearly 320 km (200 mi)—and from Kathmandu in the north to Munger in the south—a distance of nearly 130 km (81 mi). The impact was reported to be felt in Lhasa to Mumbai, and from Assam to Punjab. The earthquake was so severe that in Kolkata, (around 650 km from epicenter) many buildings were damaged and the tower of St. Paul's Cathedral collapsed.[2]

Ground effects

One noteworthy phenomenon of this earthquake was that sand and water vents appeared throughout the central vents of earthquake area. The ground around these sand fissures subsided, causing more damage.[3] Extensive liquefaction of the ground took place over a length of 300 km (called the Slump Belt) during 1934 Bihar-Nepal earthquake in which many structures went afloat.[4]

In Muzzafarpur, sand fissures erupted at several places in town. The wells were choked with sand while water levels in tanks became shallower due to sand deposited in the tank beds. Most of the buildings in Muzzafarpur were damaged. All the Kutcha buildings collapsed while other buildings suffered damage due to sinking and cracking of the ground.


In Sitamarhi, not a single house was left standing. In Rajnagar, near Madhubani, all the Kutcha buildings collapsed. The buildings of Darbhanga Raj, including the famous Naulakha Palace, were severely damaged.

The three important towns of Nepal—Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan—were severely affected and almost all the buildings collapsed. Large cracks appeared in the ground and several roads were damaged in Kathmandu. However, the temple of Pashupatinath, the guardian deity of Nepal, escaped any damage.

A report on the Bihar Earthquake and on the measures taken in consequence thereof up to 31 December 1934. W.B. Brett, Relief Commissioner, Bihar and Orissa. Superintendent, Government Printing, Bihar and Orissa, Patna, 1935. Total number of deaths (in Bihar): 7253.


Mahatma Gandhi visited the Bihar state. He wrote that the Bihar earthquake was providential retribution for India's failure to eradicate untouchability.[5]

See also


External links

  • Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
  • Archived) — Amateur Seismic Centre
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