Sikkim, in Northeastern India, was hit with a 6.9 M earthquake at 12:40 UTC (6:10 PM local time. The Epicenter was 169 miles east of Kathmandu, Nepal and approximately 500 miles east of New Delhi, India. It was felt in Kathmandu, New Delhi, Bhutan, Tibet and Bangladesh. Parliament in Nepal interrupted their session due to the quake. The quake sent people running out of buildings throughout the region, as far away as New Delhi. Buildings in Sikkim and Nepal collapsed, including a wall of the British Embassy in Kathmandu, which killed 3 people. 108 were killed and 10,000 buildings collapsed throughout the region affected. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim state, with a population of 50,000 was hard hit. Power was out in Sikkim and the neighboring state of West Bengal, including the city of Darjeeling. Many areas were cut off by landslides in this remote, mountainous area of the Himalayas.
This quake is a result of the collision between the Indian Plate, which is moving north into the Eurasian Plate (See the Plate Tectonics page for more information on these processes.) This collision is crumpling the crust, raising the Himalayan Range. This quake is apparently took place as a result of stresses within one of the two plates. The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes. See the USGS summary of this quake.
See also the following news stories:
* Strong Quake Hit Northeastern India: 9 dead(USA Today 9/18/11))
*Several Killed as Earthquake Hits India, Nepal(BBC 9/18/11)
*NE experiences strongest earthquake in 20 years (Hindustan Times 9/19/11)
*Quake Rescue Teams Scour Bhutan (BBC 9/22/11)