What was predicted has come to pass: A major earthquake hit a remote mountainous region of Nepal today, killing at least 36 people and injuring another 1,117, triggering landslides, and toppling buildings less than three weeks after the country was ravaged by its worst quake in decades. Information was slow to reach the capital of Kathmandu, but officials and aid workers say they expect the death toll will almost certainly rise. Rescue helicopters were sent to districts northeast of the capital of Kathmandu, where landslides and buildings collapsed by the magnitude-7.3 quake may have left people buried; a government official named the Sindhupalchowk and Dolkha districts as the hardest hit.
Today's quake was deeper than the 7.8-magnitude quake that rocked the country on April 25, coming from a depth of 11.5 miles versus the earlier one at 9.3 miles. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage. The Guardian explains by way of a British seismologist that in terms of the "amplitude" of the quake (meaning "the distance the ground moves"), the 7.8-magnitude quake was about five times more powerful than today's. As for today's quake, it was followed closely by at least six strong aftershocks, according to the US Geological Survey. At least four people were killed in Sindhulpalchowk's town of Chautara, according to a rep with the International Organization for Migration; that's the town where NASA managed to help find four survivors after the April 25 temblor. (Read more Nepal stories.)