A National Disaster Response Force team has already arrived in Imphal, India’s defence ministry said. A three-member team from the health ministry is also likely to reach the state by Jan. 5.

Other large cities in the region including Guwahati and Kolkata in India and Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka also felt the quake but no significant damage has been reported so far.

India’s northeastern region lies at the northern end of the Indian plate, a major tectonic plate that is in constant friction with the Eurasian plate. Friction between the two plates triggered the massive earthquake in Nepal last April, which killed over 8,000 people and displaced thousands more in the Himalayan nation.

The last big earthquake to hit Assam was on Aug. 15, 1950. The 8.6 magnitude quake had its epicentre in eastern Tibet but wreaked havoc across northeast India, killing thousands. This is how a 1974 study (pdf) of the earthquake described its impact:

The earthquake had severe effects on topography and the regime of rivers: Riverbeds had considerably silted up and many had permanently changed their courses, adding the effects of floods to those of shaking. Aerial reconnaissance revealed that 10,000 (square) km of hill area were affected by landslides.

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