Antiqua Print Gallery Kashmir Earthquake 1885
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Kashmir Earthquake 1885

Kashmir 1885:Walter R. Lawrence writing in 1895 mentions 11 earthquakes since the 15th century, four in the 19th (one in 1827), and the last two in 1864 and 1885. On page 213 he describes the 1885 earthquake and comments that the wattle-and daub thatched, and timber-frame houses (mud bricks surrounded by a frame of wood) of the Kashmir valley demonstrated greater resistance to earthquake damage than masonry and stone buildings. He comments further that tents were held in readiness for further large aftershocks for at least a decade following the 1885 earthquake. Now, 120 years after this earlier Kashmir earthquake many of the structures that caused this year's 74,000 fatalities occurred through the collapse of concrete skeleton structures were assembled in the past half century by people who had no knowledge of the intensity of shaking in an earthquake, or Kashmir's long history of repeated destruction by earthquakes.
"The earthquake of 1885 commenced on May 30 and shocks more or less violent were felt up to August 16. Houses were destroyed and there was general panic, people sleeping for many days out of doors. It is said that 3,500 persons were killed , and the number of cattle, ponies and other domestic animals crushed by falling buildings was enormous. Baramula and Patan seem to have suffered the most, and large earth fissures were caused, from which it is reported that sulphur fumes and inflammable gasses were emitted. Many old water springs disappeared and landslips occurred, one of which at Lari Dura in the Krihun Tahsil, revealed fossil Singhara nuts at an elevation of about 1500 feet above the level of the Wular Lake. It has been suggested that the style of architecture in Kashmir is not calculated to withstand the shocks of an earthquake , but the inhabitants claim that the apparently frail structures escape when heavier and more massive buildings would succumb, and it must be remembered that the temples of Patan and the Palace of Srinigar suffered in 1885. Even now I have noticed in the courtyards of many villagers houses a temporary wigwam, which is always kept in readiness for shelter in times of shocks, and the dread of another earthquake is always present."
Lawrence, W. R., (1895) The Valley of Kashmir. Henry Froude, London, pp. 478

(Source Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences)