Thailand Earthquake Causes Minimal Damage


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Just hours after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Tokyo, a strong earthquake hit northern Thailand and Myanmar. The Thailand earthquake damaged several homes, businesses and temples, but so far, no casualties have been reported.

The earthquake measured 6.0 on the Richter scales and its epicenter was located near Chiang Rai. After the quake, many buildings and temples were closed down out of concern for the safety of visitors, including the well-known temple, Wat Rongkhun.

"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 continued. "I don't know how many years it will take me to fix it. ... It was tumbling like the Earth was going to explode."

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter was 9 kilometers (6 miles) south of Mae Lao, Thailand, and 27 kilometers (17 miles) southwest of Chiang Rai. Its depth was a relatively shallow 7.4 kilometers (4.6 miles).

Shallow quakes are often felt within a larger area. Earthquakes are common in Thailand, as it is located on top of several fault lines. Most of the quakes that occur in Thailand are small and do not cause any damage.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island and triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 8,000 people in Thailand's coastal areas.

In 2006, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit Thailand but did not cause any damage.

Authorities throughout Thailand are still checking to make sure nobody was harmed and securing buildings and monuments until it can be determined if they are safe.

Image via Wikimedia Commons