1975 Bagan earthquake

The 1975 Bagan earthquake occurred on July 8 at 6:34 pm local time (12:04 UTC) in Bagan, Myanmar. Many important stupas and temples were destroyed. The strongest intensity was felt in the towns of Nyaung-U, Pakokku, and Yesagyo, and in the Myaing townships on the confluence of the Ayeyawady River. Damages were also reported in Chauk and Natmauk townships. It had a magnitude of Mw 7.0.

1975 Bagan earthquake
1975 Bagan earthquake is located in Myanmar
1975 Bagan earthquake
UTC time1975-07-08 12:04:38
ISC event725977
Local date8 July 1975 (1975-07-08)
Local time18:34:38
Magnitude7.0 Mw(ISC-GEM)
Depth157 km (98 mi)
Epicenter21°29′N 94°42′E / 21.48°N 94.7°E / 21.48; 94.7Coordinates: 21°29′N 94°42′E / 21.48°N 94.7°E / 21.48; 94.7
Total damageNinety‐four major temples extensively damaged[1]
Max. intensityVIII (Severe) [2]
Casualties2 dead
15 injured

Art historians rank the archeological treasures of Bagan (formerly called Pagan) with the renowned temple complex at Angkor Wat or with the European artworks of Venice and Florence. The earthquake "irreparably damaged many of the great temples of Bagan, an artistic landmark of Asia and the center of the Burmese national culture."[1] Burma's Director General of Archeology said the earthquake the worst in the last 900 years of recorded history.[3]

The source of the earthquake is still controversial because of uncertainties in the depth information ranging from 84 to 157 km. Subduction and collision of the India Plate and the Burma Plate is ongoing and this earthquake was on the interface of these two plates.[4]

Tectonic settingEdit

Myanmar lies at region where the Indian, Burma and Eurasian plates collide; with the Burma Plate wedged between. The north-northeast motion of the Indian Plate towards the Eurasian Plate has resulted in the formation of two major plate boundaries along the Burma Plate; the Sagaing Fault to the east, and a complex convergent boundary accommodating oblique subduction of the Indian Plate beneath Myanmar. Subduction of the Indian Plate occur along the Arakan Megathrust; the northern continuation of the Sunda Megathrust; capable of generating an earthquake greather than magnitude 8.0. The Mw  8.5–8.8 Arakan earthquake of 1762 is believed to be a thrusting earthquake on the Arakan Megathrust.[5]

Intermediate-depth intraslab earthquakes occur as a result of faulting within the subducting Indian Plate beneath the Burma Plate. These earthquakes have hypocenter depths that range from 60 kilometres (37 mi) to greater than 200 kilometres (120 mi). Earthquakes including the Mw  7.3 1988 Myanmar–India earthquake, as well as the April and August earthquakes of 2016 were associated with intermediate-depth intraslab activity.[6][7] The 1988 earthquake is the largest known intermediate-depth event in Myanmar.


The earthquake occurred as a result of either reverse or normal faulting at an intermediate depth within the subducting Indian Plate beneath the Burma Plate. Faulting within the Indian Plate at such depth are due to intraplate compression or extension acting on the slab, where faults accommodate the stresses.[8] Earthquakes occurring within the Indian Plate could be traced up to 200 km beneath the crust.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b An Earthquake in Burma Ravages Ancient Shrines by Henry Kamm, The New York Times, July 24, 1975
  2. ^ Hasbi Ash Shiddiqi; Pa Pa Tun; Tun Lin Kyaw; Lars Ottemöller (2018). "Source Study of the 24 August 2016 Mw 6.8 Chauk, Myanmar, Earthquake" (PDF). Seismological Research Letters. 89 (5): 1773–1785. doi:10.1785/0220170278.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey: Earthquake History for July 8th Today in Earthquake History
  4. ^ The Bagan Earthquake (1975) by Tint Lwin Swe, Myanmar Earthquake Committee
  5. ^ Mondal, Dhiman R.; McHugh, Cecilia M.; Mortlock, Richard A.; Steckler, Michael S.; Mustaque, Sharif; Akhter, Syed Humayun (2018). "Microatolls document the 1762 and prior earthquakes along the southeast coast of Bangladesh". Tectonophysics. 745: 196–213. Bibcode:2018Tectp.745..196M. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2018.07.020.
  6. ^ "International Seismological Centre Online Event Bibliography". isc-mirror.iris.washington.edu/. International Seismological Centre. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  7. ^ Hla Hla Aung (2020). "The Surface Deformation and Earthquake History Associated with the 1975 M 6.8 Bagan Earthquake in Myanmar". American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences. 65 (1).
  8. ^ Hla Hla Aung (2020). "The Surface Deformation and Earthquake History Associated with the 1975 M 6.8 Bagan Earthquake in Myanmar". American Academic Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences. 65 (1).
  9. ^ Lin Thu Aung; Stacey Servito Martin; Yu Wang; Shengji Wei; Myo Thant; Khaing Nyein Htay; Hla Myo Aung; Tay Zar Kyaw; Soe Min; Kaung Sithu; Tun Naing; Saw Ngwe Khaing; Kyaw Moe Oo; G. Suresh; Weiwen Chen; Phyo Maung Maung; Vineet Gahalaut (2019). "A comprehensive assessment of ground motions from two 2016 intra-slab earthquakes in Myanmar". Tectonophysics. Elsevier. 765: 146–160. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2019.04.016.

External linksEdit