Nepal Earthquake: A Complete Timeline

Earthquake is a natural phenomenon that can occur anywhere in the world without any warning. It usually occurs when the rock or the tectonic plates underground suddenly breaks along a fault. This sudden release of energy causes the seismic waves which start the shaking of the Earth. Usually, it is a shock wave that radiates to the surface of the earth from the ground. It can cause various effects such as from unnoticeable, mild tremors to violent, prolonged shaking. The earthquake is a natural happening that occurs frequently only in certain areas of the world but may occur anytime, anywhere in the world. Nepal is one of the countries which is the most prone to Earthquakes due to being in between two active tectonic plates. The Himalayan region of Nepal is the outcome of the movement of two tectonic plates, i.e. Eurasian plate and Indian plate. From this article you can find a Nepal earthquake timeline:

Nepal Earthquake – History

An earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the Earth, caused by faulting, a sudden lateral or vertical movement of rock along a broken surface. Earthquakes are normally quite brief but may repeat anytime. The sudden release of energy underground causes the seismic waves that make the earth shake.

Three previous great earthquakes that occurred in Nepal, were in Assam in 1897 AD, then in Kangra in 1905, and again in Assam in the 1950 earthquake was felt in Nepal. Also in 1833, the earthquake had affected the Kathmandu Valley. One of the greatest earthquakes have occurred in Bihar-Nepal in 1934 AD. Nepal lies in one of the most seismically active regions of the whole world, and also Nepal has a long history of earthquakes.

During the reign of King Abhaya Malla on 7 June 1255, the first earthquake occurred which measured about 7.8 on the Richter scale. It took the life of the king and wiped out almost a third of Kathmandu’s population. The earthquake which occurred in 1255 A.D. has also been reported to destroy many numbers of houses and temples. And the earthquake of 1408 A.D. has been reported to destroy the prestigious Machhendra Nath temple of Patan. Also, the earthquake of 1681 A.D. and 1810 A.D. have been reported to occur but the exact loss and exact location are still not known.

Per century Nepal has witnessed at least one major ever since. Earthquake of 1833 A.D. event devastated Kathmandu valley. As per reports the quake, measuring  7.8 on the Richter scale occurred. The number of humans that died on that earthquakes are reported to be less than 500, which might be due to the occurrence of two large foreshocks. Among all earthquakes of Nepal, the 1934 A.D. is the most devastating earthquake which has ever occurred in the territory of Nepal. More than 16000 people died in that devastating earthquake including from Nepal and India put together.

The record of the historical earthquake is not complete which poses a problem in assessing the recurrence period of great earthquakes. According to the available data of the earthquakes in Nepal, there have been no great earthquakes of magnitude >8.0 in the gap between the earthquakes of 1905 A. D and 1934 A. D. and this means there is a real threat that a major earthquake may occur in this gap that will mainly affect Western Nepal.

Is Earthquake coming in Nepal?

No one can talk about the chances of an earthquake occurring in Nepal again because nobody knows what is going to happen next. But according to scientists, there is a high risk of a future major earthquake in the west of India and Nepal. Also, the new data has revealed that the devastating quake that hit Nepal in April 2015 did not release all of the stress that had built up underground, and has pushed some of it westwards too.

After the earthquake of April 2015, Nepal went through a huge loss of people, houses and many more. That devastating earthquake occurred in a geological collision zone, where the Indian tectonic plate pushes north into the Eurasian plate, moving the ground an average of 2cm a year. According to the scientists, the seismic waves traveling underground were a lower frequency than expected, which caused the ground to vibrate more gently.

Again an earthquake may or may not occur in Nepal. Nepali people live in one of the most seismically active zones worldwide. Nepal is number one in the list of top ten countries vulnerable to deadly earthquakes. The 2015 disaster will pale in comparison to a much bigger earthquake which may again threaten Nepal.

Geologists are not sure about the actual time about exactly when an earthquake will occur but they have said that one day it’s going to happen and it will be a huge disaster.

Seismologist Roger Bilham prefers to tell people that the 2015 earthquake in Nepal was not the Big One, the big one is yet to come. He says that this is still collecting energy that could be let off in the future and be a bigger disaster. Roger Bilham said that disaster might be double the disaster that occurred in 2015.

Another quake that may occur could cause more damage and might cause more loss too because its epicenter may be in faults directly beneath Kathmandu Valley. But fingers crossed that the energy will release itself in creep, and not a jolt and may it not cause another disaster for the country. And there is the second scenario for western Nepal which is even scarier.

If the earthquake occurs in Nepal, western Nepal will suffer the most, the western half of the country is at double risk because of the long seismic gap & relatively low awareness about earthquake safety. That could be the most deadly earthquake or also can say the mother of all the earthquakes because there hasn’t been a megaquake in western Nepal since an estimated 8.4 quake that struck in 1505 A.D.

When did the earthquakes occur in Nepal?

The following is a list of earthquakes that occurred in Nepal. The following list includes only major seismic events with their epicenter in the country and those that occurred outside the country, which resulted in a very significant loss of many lives and property in the country.






1255, June 7

Not Known






Not Known





Not Known




1408, August

Not Known

Near Nepal-Tibet Border

Bagmati zone



1505, June 6

Not Known

Near Saldang, Karnali
zone see 1505 Lo Mustang earthquakes



1681, January

Not Known

Northern Kosi zone



1767, July

Not Known

Northern Bagmati zone



1833, August 26

Not Known




1869, 7 July

Not Known




1916, 28 August

06:39 NST

Nepal/ Tibet



1934, January 15

08:43 NST

Nepal/ India/Tibet see 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake



1966, 27 June

10:41 NST

Nepal/ India border



1980, 29 July

14:58 NST

Nepal/ Pithoragarh



1988, 20 August

23:09 NST

Kathmandu/ Bihar see 1988 Nepal earthquake



2011, 18 September

18:29 NST

Sikkim, India



2015, 25 April

11:56:26 NST

Gorkha/ India/ Tibet see April 2015 Nepal earthquake and list of 2015



2015, 12 May

12:38 IST

Nepal/ China/ India/ Bangladesh see May 2015 Nepal earthquake (one of the
2015 aftershocks)



What caused the Nepal Earthquake 2015?

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a sudden thrust, or release of built-up stress caused the earthquake, along the major fault line where the Indian Plate is slowly diving under the Eurasian Plate, composing of Europe and Asia. These two tectonic plates, Indian plate, and Eurasian plates meet beneath the Himalayas along a fault line. The India plate is moving north at around 45mm a year and pushing under the Eurasian plate. Over time that is how the Himalayas were created.

On 25 April 2015 Saturday’s deadly earthquake in Nepal occurred because of two converging tectonic plates i.e. the India plate and the overriding Eurasia plate to the north, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Large, and rigid plates that move relative to one another on the outer surface of the Earth are known as the tectonic plates.

At the location of April 2015, on Saturday’s earthquake, about 50 miles to the northeast of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, the Indian plate was converging with the Eurasian plate at a rate of 2 inches per year. Indian plate was moving towards the north-northeast, driving uplift of the Himalayan mountain range.

The shaking of the earthquake had a depth of only 7 miles, which means there was shallow in geological terms, that is what the Associated Press reported. If the earthquake is shallower, it carries more destructive power. Earthquake of 2015 was felt as far away as Lahore in Pakistan, which is nearly more than 700 miles away.

Tremors of the earthquake of 2015 were also felt 380 miles away in Lhasa in Tibet, and 400 miles away in Dhaka, Bangladesh. That earthquake was the deadliest earthquake that Nepal went through. Over the past century, just four events of magnitude-6.0 or larger have occurred within about 150 miles of the 25 April 2015 earthquake.

Mainly, the earthquakes are caused due to disequilibrium in any part of the crust of the earth. Looking at the world distribution of earthquakes, it appears that the earthquake belts are closely associated with the weaker zones of the globe. Generally, the word earthquake occurs either natural or caused by humans. Earthquakes are caused by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.

The major causes of earthquakes:

  1. One of the main causes of Earthquakes in Nepal is the gaseous expansion beneath the surface of the earth.
  2. Crustal adjustment and the faulting and folding present in the Earth’s plates.
  3. Another main cause of earthquakes is the Volcanic eruption, but in Nepal, there are no active volcanoes.
  4. Anthropogenic (man-made) causes.
  5. Movement of Tectonic plates
  6. Nowadays, Nuclear testing and nuclear disaster are also an artificial cause of earthquakes.
  7. Hydraulic actions are also one of the major causes of earthquakes.

As per the reports, plate tectonic theory has been accepted as one of the explanations of the causes of earthquakes. There are many things because of which it may cause an interpolate earthquake. The faults can be one of the reasons for it: normal fault or a thrust fault. Normal faults occur mainly in areas where the crust is being extended more and more such as a Divergent boundary. Thrust faults occur in areas where the crust is being shortened.

How long Nepal Earthquake last?

The Earthquake of 2015 in Nepal is considered as one of the deadliest earthquakes that have ever occurred in Nepal. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, in the capital, and created landslides and avalanches in the Himalaya region of Nepal. This earthquake damaged thousands of houses, four, five-story buildings, nearly 9,000 people died and more than 22,000 suffered big injuries.

After the earthquake, there were continuous aftershocks arise throughout Nepal at the intervals of 15–20 minutes, with each shock reaching the magnitude of 6.7 Richter Scale on 26 April at 12:54:08 NST. A district in Nepal called Sindhupalchok was hit hard by the great earthquake April 25, 2015 earthquake i.e. a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck just northwest of the capital of Kathmandu. This place went through a lot of loss and damage.

After the massive earthquake on the 25th  and 26th of April, the aftershock occurred on May 12, a magnitude 7.3 aftershock struck some 76 km (47 miles) east-northeast of Kathmandu, which killed more than 100 people and nearly 1,900 people were injured. As of the 26th of May 2015 more than 8,673 people were killed and about 21,952 people were injured.

Facts of Nepal Earthquake 2015

  1. 2015 Nepal earthquakes of May & April nearly killed more than 9,000 people and more than 22,000 people were found injured.
  2. Earthquake of 1934 in Nepal took the lives of more than ten thousand people.
  3. 2015 earthquake killed 19 climbers on Mt. Everest and hundreds of people at the base camp were badly injured.
  4. On 7 June 1255 A.D and 25 April 2015 Nepal survived with an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale.
  5. Earthquake of 1255 A.D. killed that time’s Regina King, King Abhay Malla.
  6. The earthquake of April 25, 2015, is considered as the worst and deadliest earthquake ever occurred in Nepal.
  7. April 25, 2015 earthquake: a 7.8 magnitude quake that occurred in the northwest of the capital of Kathmandu.
  8. Worst quake since 8.4 earthquakes in 1934, which killed more than 10,000 people, damaged over 125,000 homes and destroyed over 80,000 buildings
  9. Epicenter: Less than 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu, the country’s capital in central Nepal.
  10. Depth: 11 km/6.8 miles. The origin of the earthquake was relatively shallow and was contributing to its strength and the resulting damage.
  11. Hundreds in total; two major aftershocks of 6.6 and 6.7 magnitudes, and a second 7.3 magnitude quake occurred on 12 May 2015 earthquake
  12. Though the earthquake of 2015 is considered as the worst disaster ever and it caused lots of damages too but nothing happened to the Lord Pashupatinath’s temple
  13. Nepal ranks 11th in the world for the vulnerability to earthquakes.
  14. 2015 earthquake took the highest number of people’s lives in the history of Nepal earthquake i.e nearly 9000
  15. 18 climbers died at Mount Everest base in the earthquake of 2015.
  16. About 2.8 million Nepalese were displaced, according to the world body.

Earthquakes have happened many times in Nepal. They are quite often too. Based on the seismic record of the number of earthquakes that occurred from 1255 to 2015 earthquakes of magnitude that were greater than 8 Richter scale occurred on average once every 80 years.

This is a timeline of Nepal Earthquake history:

  • 1st earthquake occurred in 1255 A.D.

This is a massive earthquake. Before the 2015 earthquake, the 1255 earthquake was known as the deadliest earthquake ever occurred in the history of Nepal. Nepal also lost that time’s reign King, King Abhay Malla during that earthquake.

  • 2nd earthquake was in 1833

Around 500 fatalities are recorded after an earthquake destroys nearly 4,600 dwellings.

  • In 1934 another earthquake occurred in

Nepal-Bihar which killed over 10,000 people.

  • 1950

The Assam-Tibet earthquake happened which causes seiches (waves in standing water) as far away as England.

  • 1988

An earthquake hit the Nepal-India border. A 6.8 on the Richter scale of earthquake occurred, the earthquake caused more than 722 deaths in Nepal and nearly 78,000 dwelling places were destroyed beyond repair in India and Nepal.

  • 2001

As per the research, reports studies indicate that a large earthquake is overdue in the Himalaya region.

  • 2001–2003

At this period, a small earthquake occurred which killed around 45 people in Nepal.

  • 2011

An earthquake occurred in Sikkim. In that earthquake, about 100 people died in India, and 11 people died in Nepal.

  • 2015

This Earthquake killed thousands of people in Nepal and destroyed centuries-old buildings. Here is a timeline of Earthquake tremors of 2015 and international help and support given by various nations to Nepal.

  • April and May 2015

In April 2015, Nepalese people survived from a very scary earthquake, which is also known as the Gorkha earthquake. During that earthquake, nearly 9,000 people were killed and about 22,000 were injured.

On 25 April 2015, earthquakes occurred in Nepal at 11:56 Nepal Standard Time with a magnitude of 7.8Mw or 8.1Ms and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of VIII (Severe). The earthquake’s epicenter was east of the Gorkha District at Barpak, Gorkha, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 8.2 km (5.1 mi).

It was one of the worst natural disasters to ever strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. With its occurrence at an hour, many people in rural areas were working outdoors, due to which it decreased the loss of property and human lives.

Many multi-story buildings in Kathmandu were destroyed and creating landslides and avalanches in the Himalayas Mountains. After 81 years of the 1934 earthquake, it was the deadliest earthquake in Nepal.

The buildings and temples which were listed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including some at Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changu Narayan Temple, the Boudhanath stupa and the Swayambhunath stupa were destroyed by the devastating earthquake.

Dharahara, also known as Bhimsen Tower, a nine-story tower about 61.88-metre-tall was destroyed. It was also one of the sites of Kathmandu recognized by UNESCO. The aftershocks of earthquakes continued to occur throughout Nepal at the interval of 15–20 minutes, with one shock reaching a magnitude of 6.7 on 26 April at 12:54:08 NST. This earthquake also continued the risk of landslides in Nepal.

The earthquake was followed by hundreds of aftershocks. After only 17 days later, on 12 May 2015, another earthquake with the epicenter near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mt. Everest occurred. More than 200 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured by this aftershock, and many people and animals were left homeless.

Thirty-nine of the nation’s 75 districts with a population of almost 8 million people, nearly a third of the national population were affected by this earthquake. Thousands of people lost everything, even their loved ones, their lives and also faced extreme poverty. Nearly 600,000 homes were destroyed and more than 288,000 were damaged in the 14 worst-hit districts.

The strongest impact of the earthquake was in the remote rural areas which made the response extremely challenging. But humanitarian organizations responded quickly to the disaster with search and immediately sent rescue teams with aid deliveries. The earthquake of 25 April 2015 was the deadliest day on the mountain in history. It triggered another huge avalanche in the Langtang valley in which 250 people were reported missing.

  • On April 25, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Nepal, more than 8,000 people died. In the end, that earthquake results in shortages of food, water, and medical supplies. More than 400,000 buildings collapsed, and about 14 historic structures, buildings, and places were destroyed or severely damaged, including 12 on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
  • Again the earthquake occurred on April 26, 2015. Many rescue teams came from China and on the first day, the team rescued a 16-year-old boy from the rubble of a collapsed building. Also, the first batch of 58 medics from the Chengdu people’s hospital arrived to assist Nepal in treating the wounded and provide support. The experienced experts in medicine, nursing and psychology also visited Nepal and helped the victims.
  • On April 27, the 172 rescue and medical personnel were sent by the Chinese people’s liberation army also arrived to assist the relief work. They traveled to Nepal with four sniffer dogs, five recovery vehicles, and life detectors.
  • Again on May 5, an aftershock happened and then China had donated about $9.7 million (£6.1 million) to aid relief in Nepal, whereas Britain had given $15 million, and the United States had donated $10.80 million for the relief.
  • May 7

Another medical team of 56 people from China again arrived in Nepal with seven tons of medical aid for the victims.

  • May 8

The medical teams from China had treated about 606 patients, which also includes nearly 117 people who were going through serious injuries. The medical team did also help the Nepalese authorities formulate a post-disaster health and epidemic prevention plan.

  • May 12

Another aftershock occurs and Nepal was hit by a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake and about 65 people were found dead.

Check also: Nepal Flag – History, Meaning, Facts and More

How many died in Nepal Earthquake 2015 and 1990?

  • 1990 earthquake

1990 Bihar–Nepal earthquake or the 1990 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. In Nepali, it was also known as ’90 saal ko bhukampa’ was one of the worst earthquakes in the history of Nepal and Bihar. 8.0 magnitude earthquake occurred on 15 January at 2:28 PM NST (08:43 UTC) and it caused widespread damage mostly in the northern Bihar and in Nepal.

There were three major towns of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan which were badly affected and nearly all the buildings collapsed. Huge cracks appeared in the ground, several roads and many places were damaged in Kathmandu, although the temple of Lord Pashupatinath, named Pashupatinath; the guardian deity of Nepal escaped any damage.

However, in Sitamarhi, not a single house was left standing. All the buildings collapsed. And in Patna, one castle only remained standing, with the rest of the city being turned to rubble. The town of Birgunj had to go through a lot of damage and many buildings were destroyed, along with its telephone line to Kathmandu were destroyed.

The number of people died on that massive earthquake was 10,700 to 12,000 with 7,253 recorded in Bihar.

  • 2015 Earthquake

In April 2015, Nepal was struck by the earthquake, also known as the Gorkha earthquake. Nearly 9,000 people died and almost about 22,00 people were injured in the earthquake. The massive earthquake occurred on 25 April 2015 at 11:56 as Nepal Standard Time, with a magnitude of 7.8Mw or 8.1Ms.

Nearly 3.5 million people became homeless and survived with that deadly earthquake.

The total damage that was caused by the earthquake was $10 billion. According to the Nepal government—nearly half of Nepal’s gross domestic product (GDP) of $19.2 billion. And according to IHS Global Insights, a research firm, the estimated cost for rebuilding those damages like homes, roads, and bridges alone could run up to $5 billion.

The earthquake struck near the city of Kathmandu in central Nepal on April 25, 2015.

Besides the death of people, many buildings, houses, roads, factories were destroyed or one can say more than 600,000 structures in Kathmandu and other nearby towns were either damaged or destroyed by the earthquake.

The aftermath of an Earthquake in Nepal

In response to the earthquakes that devastated Nepal in April and May 2015 and Wine To Water & Water Charity partnered to support the people affected by the disasters with clean water. After the massive earthquake people of Nepal were in the need and urgency of this relief cannot be overstated.

Almost 3 million people in Nepal did not have access to clean water and sanitation due to the destruction of infrastructure and homes throughout much of the country because of the earthquake. And in addition to dealing with the magnitude of the destruction of the earthquake, there happen more lack of clean water. To make the highest impact possible to provide water to the people, water filters were distributed to the following territories within Kathmandu Valley.

Wine To Water’s CEO, David Cuthbert, joined the ground team to do site visits and assessments on the devastated locations. The Magnitude of a 7.8 subduction earthquake occurred also in the Main Himalayan Thrust arc and triggered many major aftershocks. The earthquake damage was catastrophic, which caused the fatalities of more than eight thousand five hundred and billions of dollars in economic loss.

How to prevent devastating Earthquakes?

After 81 years Nepali people faced the worst disaster in 2015. But according to some geologists, the double of that earthquake is yet to come and it will make a huge damage in the western part of the country. Various safety measures can be applied to prevent from destruction such devastating earthquakes in the future. Though we cannot prevent completely from Earthquake we can apply some mitigating measures.

Here are some of the safety measures that should be applied to prevent from destruction:

  • The best option to prevent from Earthquake is by constructing Earthquake resistant buildings.
  • The planning and design of buildings should be made earthquake-proof.
  • Counteracts against the secondary effect of Earthquakes such as landslides, Tsunami, etc should be done by various other preventive measures.
  • Gases, water and electricity pipes, and lines should be constructed with appropriate safety measures.
  • At the time of Earthquake, seek safer places such as open ground, which is free from trees, electric poles, etc or if you’re trapped inside the building, then prevent yourself by taking shelter under the table or bed.
  • Protect your head and neck by covering with your arm and get down on your knees.

Nepalese American: Facts and Statistics

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