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THE HINDU KUSH EARTHQUAKE OF THE 14TH NOVEMBER, 1937: By A. L. COULSON, D.Sc., D.I.C., F.G.S., F.N.I., Superintending Geologist, Geological Survey of India.











Shock felt over large area in north-west



At about 16:30 hours (4:30 P.M.) Indian Standard Time1 on Sunday the 14th November, 1937, an unusually severe earthquake occurred in the Hindu Kush, which was felt throughout the North-West Frontier Province and Kashmir and over large parts of the Punjab and also in the United Provinces, northern Sind and Baluchistan. The purpose of this short paper is to place on record the reports of this shock and to show that the epicentral area indicated by them accords well with that deduced from instrumental records in the Bombay and Calcutta Observatories. It is also shown that the focus of the earthquake was very deep-seated (200240 km.).


According to an Associated Press message, dated Lahore, the 14th November, 1937, published in the Calcutta edition of the Statesman of the 15th

Lahore report.


"Lahore experienced an earthquake shock of more than moderate intensity at 4:30 P.M. today, the shock lasting for over a minute.

1 Indian Standard Time is 5 hours 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Cracks were noticed on the walls of some delapidated structures, but no serious loss was reported.

A few bricks were dislodged from the balcony of the General Post Office, and the tops of several high buildings were seen to rock while the shock lasted.

Four earthquake shocks were felt in Lahore last month, but to-day's was more severe than any since those of 19041.”

The Calcutta edition of the Statesman of the 16th November, General report. 1937, stated:

"The earthquake which occurred at Lahore at about 4:30 P.M. on Sunday (briefly reported in yesterday's Statesman) was felt at many centres in the Punjab, according to the Associated Press.

Reports show that tremors of varying severity were felt at almost all stations in a circle formed by Peshawar in the north, Bahawalpur in the west, Kangra in the east and Delhi in the south.

At Kangra another shock occurred at 1 A.M.

The tremors were most severe in the north of the Province where considerable damage to property occurred.

Hundred of houses were damaged in Rawalpindi city, while a number collapsed in the suburban towns.

A young Sikh girl, who was buried under the wreckage of a house in Rawalpindi, but was later extricated, is lying in a precarious condition in hospital, while a woman has lost an arm.

Several buildings were damaged in Peshawar, where a number of people were injured by falling bricks. No loss of life, however, is reported.

According to the Quetta correspondent of the Statesman, earthquake tremors were felt at Quetta on Sunday afternoon.

The Alipore seismograph, at 16 hrs. 33 minutes (I. S. T.°) on Sunday, recorded an earthquake shock of great intensity at its origin about 1,330 miles from Calcutta."

A Peshawar Associated Press message, dated the 17th November, 1937, published in the Calcutta edition of the Statesman of the 18th November, 1937,

Peshawar report.


"News has been received of a violent earthquake which occurred at 4:30 P.M. on Sunday last at Chitral and Drosh, resulting in considerable loss of property and serious damage to the fort. This has necessitated the troops being placed under canvas. No casualties are reported."

11905, i.e., those connected with the Kangra earthquake of 4th April, 1905.

The following note was published under the heading "Kashmir Earthquake of November 14" in the issue of Nature, dated the 20th November, 1937. It is reproduced in full as


it mentions other earthquakes that have been

felt in Kashmir and its vicinity :

"An earthquake of some strength occurred on the afternoon of November 14 in north-western India, especially in the province of Kashmir. That it attained semi-destructive intensity (degree. I of the Milne scale) is clear from the slight damage that occurred at Srinagar, Abbottabad, and other places. The earthquake is of interest chiefly from its association with more violent shocks in the same province. Within little more than a century two earthquakes of Milne's highest order of intensity (III) visited Kashmir, one in 1828, the other in 1885. Another, of intensity II, occurred on December 4, 1865, in the district around Chamba (about 150 miles south-east of Srinagar), and two others, of about the same intensity as the recent shock, in that near Srinagar on August 28, 1916, and January 20, 1931. Of these earthquakes, by far the most interesting is that of May 30, 1885, studied by Mr. E. J. Jones, of the Geological Survey of India, whose brief report is published in the Records of the Survey (18, 221-227). In the small meizoseismal area of this earthquake, containing about 47 square miles, the destruction of villages was complete and about 3,000 persons were killed. The next isoseismal includes Srinagar near its east end, and within it large portions of the towns and villages were thrown down. Abbottabad lies a short distance to the west of this isoseismal. Thus, it would seem that the origin of the recent shock may have been connected somewhat closely with that of its much stronger predecessor in 1885."


The following is a summarised tabular statement of the reports of meteorological observers received by the Director, Geological Survey of India :

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