The earthquake that shook northern Thailand and parts of Myanmar early on Monday is now reported as a magnitude 6.0. The quake was centered 6 miles south of Mae Lao, Thailand, and 17 miles southwest of Chiang Rai.
Only light damage has been reported so far. For example, some signs fell inside the main airport in Chiang Rai and some cracks were visible in a few walls, but no major damage. It is not yet known how the runway or flights were affected.
Window curtains reportedly swayed in the county’s capitol of Bangkok, and people were said to be running out of office buildings in a panic all around Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. Shaking was felt in Chiang Mai, as well as other parts of the country.
At the Udomwaree Temple in Chiang Rai, the head of a giant Buddha and many surrounding homes and buildings were damaged. According to NPR, a popular temple, Wat Rongkhun, was closed due to safety concerns after the earthquake. The damage to it seemed a little more serious.
“The spire of the main building came off and the tiles on the roof fell off,” Chalermchai Kositpiphat, the artist who built the temple, said. “I still don’t know how we can sleep tonight. … It was shaking the whole time and then aftershocks followed four to five times. It will bring more damages each time an aftershock happens, I’m afraid.”
“The murals are also damaged because the pillars were shaken badly,” Chalermchai said. “I don’t know how many years it will take me to fix it. … It was tumbling like the Earth was going to explode.”
Thankfully, no casualties or major damage has been reported at this time.
Thailand is a very active area as far as earthquakes and other seismic activity and has many active fault lines. However, in recent years, Thailand has not seen as much activity and damage as other surrounding countries in southern Asia.
A 5.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Thailand on Dec. 13, 2006, was the last serious quake that was close to the size of Monday’s. That quake occured in the northern province of Chiang Mai.
Hopefully the people of Thailand can work together to recover from the damage that was done.
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