Magnitude 6.3 earthquake jolts western Afghanistan; followed by 5.5 magnitude aftershock
The earthquake was a magnitude 6.3 earthquake and occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers. It was felt in Herat City and other parts of Afghanistan. The earthquake caused widespread damage to houses and other infrastructure, and killed at least 2,530 people. Humanitarian agencies are working to provide assistance to those affected.
Afghanistan is situated within the broad and complex zone of collision between the Arabian Plate, the Indian Plate, and the Eurasian Plate. The western part of the country is subdivided into the North Afghan Platform to the north and a series of accreted terranes to the south.
|What Caused the Afghanistan Earthquake?|
The earthquake was caused by a rupture along the Harirud Fault System. The Harirud Fault System is a major tectonic fault system in Afghanistan. It is a right-lateral strike-slip fault system, meaning that the two sides of the fault move horizontally past each other in opposite directions. The northwestern section of the fault system is a right-lateral, strike-slip fault, while the western section is a thrust fault. The left step in the fault system is where the two sections meet. This is where the inferred thrust faulting occurred.
Thrust faulting is a type of faulting that occurs when two tectonic plates collide. One plate slides over the other, creating a thrust fault. Thrust faults can produce large earthquakes, especially when they rupture along their entire length.
The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers, which is considered shallow. Shallow earthquakes are more likely to cause damage on the surface because the seismic waves have less time to dissipate before they reach the ground.
The 2023 Herat earthquake was a reminder of the seismic risk in Afghanistan. The country is prone to earthquakes, and it is important to be prepared for them.