Strong M6.5 earthquake hits Hindu Kush at intermediate depth, Afghanistan

afghanistan m6.8 march 21 2023 location map f

A strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.5 hit Hindu Kush, Afghanistan at 16:47 UTC on March 21, 2023. The agency is reporting a depth of 187.6 km (116.6 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.5 at a depth of 191 km (118.7 miles).

The epicenter was located 40.2 km (25 miles) SSE of Jurm (population 12 106), 52.6 km (32.7 miles) WSW of Ashkāsham (population 12 120), 60.9 km (37.9 miles) WSW of Ishqoshim (population 26 000), and 75 km (46.6 miles) SSE of Fayzabad (population 44 421), Afghanistan.

12 719 000 people are estimated to have felt light shaking.

The USGS issued a Green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and log construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides and liquefaction that might have contributed to losses.

afghanistan m6.8 march 21 2023 location map bg
Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

afghanistan m6.8 march 21 2023 usgs epe
afghanistan m6.8 march 21 2023 usgs epet

Selected cities exposed

afghanistan m6.8 march 21 2023 usgs sce

Regional seismicity

afghanistan earthquake march 21 2023 emsc rs


07:38 UTC, March 22

The quake damaged buildings, triggered landslides, and claimed the lives of at least 13 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nearly 300 people were injured.

9 deaths were reported in the valley region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan where several homes were destroyed and damaged.

The death toll is expected to continue rising.

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google


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