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September 17, 2000
Hyderabad-Secunderabad shaken by quake
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
The twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad experienced a mild quake in the early hours of Sunday, spreading panic among residents in scores of localities, particularly in the western and northern parts of the state capital. However, there were no reports of any casualties or damage to property from anywhere, the police said.
The tremor, measuring 2.5 on the Richter scale according to preliminary reports, was felt at 0053 hours (IST) in Hyderabad and Secunderabad areas, especially in localities in and around Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Krishnanagar, Masab Tank, Punjagutta, Ameerpet, Somajiguda and other rocky areas.
Scared residents ran out of their houses when they felt the tremor. The doors and windows of the houses and buildings rattled under the impact of the tremor. The residents in these areas also heard a rumbling sound.
The police control room and media offices were flooded with calls from anxious residents about the tremor. Police went around the affected areas appealing to the residents over the public address system not to panic. There was a scare in the Filmnagar, Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills areas where the city's elite, film-stars, politicians and bureaucrats reside.
Slum-dwellers in the few slums that dot the areas also deserted their huts and homes and preferred to stay out.
The impact of the tremor was also felt in areas such as Hakimpet, Shaikpet, Toli Chowki etc. This added to the scare among the residents who spent a sleepless night. The National Geophysical Research Institute's seismological observatory also recorded the shock with the epicentre in the Jubilee Hills area.
Soon after unprecedented rains (24 centimetres in a single day - the highest recorded in Hyderabad's history) lashed the state capital on August 23, a scientist working with the Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur) Prof Ramesh P Singh had predicted, on August 26, that the heavy rainfall might cause earthquakes.
Ramesh Singh had said that the rain and flood water was likely to percolate into the earth through fracture zones, commonly found in the shield areas, leading to increase in the pore pressure which might cause quakes.
He had advised government agencies, academic institutions and scientists involved in seismological studies to monitor Andhra Pradesh and surrounding areas, which were prone to earthquakes due to the flooding.
Some parts of the city, especially the Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills areas, had experienced tremors several times in the past as the area is prone to minor seismic activity. Such tremors were recorded on and off for a month during October 1994, for a fortnight in 1995 and for a week in October 1998.
The tremors were recorded along the route of a sub-surface tensile fracture that began at the Banjara Lake, passed through Chiran Palace and Journalists' Colony to Durgam Cheruvu. However, the tremors, of very low intensity, did not cause any destruction.
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