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Recent Earthquakes in Afghanistan

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Geomorphology

 

Source: TH, IE

 

Context: A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck western Afghanistan just over a week after a series of strong quakes and aftershocks devastated the same region.

 

Some recent earthquakes in Afghanistan include: 

  • A 6.1-magnitude earthquake in 2002 killed about 1,000 people in northern Afghanistan.
  • In 2015, a major earthquake that struck the country’s northeast killed over 200 people in Afghanistan and neighbouring northern Pakistan.
  • A magnitude-6.0 earthquake that struck the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in June 22, 2022
  • A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the historic city of Herat on October 7, 2023, leaving more than 1,000 people dead

 

Anatomy of an earthquake:

Earthquakes occur due to the movement of tectonic plates, large chunks of solid rock, along fault lines caused by tectonic forces and stress in the earth’s lithosphere. When these plates suddenly slip past each other, they release energy, sending seismic waves through the ground. The point of fault rupture within the earth, where the earthquake begins, is called the focus or hypocentre, while the point directly above it on the earth’s surface is the epicentre. Tectonic plates are continually in motion due to heat energy within the earth, and their edges, known as plate boundaries, are where most earthquakes occur.

  

 

 

Reasons for Frequent Earthquakes in Afghanistan:

Reason Description
1. Tectonic Plate Collision Afghanistan is situated at the convergence of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, where these plates collide, resulting in significant tectonic activity.
2. Geological Complexity Regions like the Hindu Kush mountain range experience geological complexity due to the collision and convergence of tectonic plates. This complexity contributes to earthquake occurrence.
3. Northward Plate The ongoing northward movement of the Indian Plate towards the Eurasian Plate leads to compression, causing crustal deformation and the creation of faults and fractures, which can trigger earthquakes.
4. Plate Boundaries The edges of tectonic plates, known as plate boundaries, are frequent sites of earthquakes. Afghanistan is located near such plate boundaries, enhancing seismic activity.
5. Active Fault Systems: Afghanistan is intersected by active fault systems like the Chaman Fault and the Main Pamir Thrust, which serve as sources of earthquakes in the region.

 

 

 

For How to make an India earthquake: Click Here

 For 60% of India prone to earthquake: Click Here

 

Insta Links

 

Mains Links:

Discuss the factors that cause earthquakes. Why are Earthquakes more common in certain parts of the world than in others? (250 words)

 

Prelims Links:

  1. Which of the following earthquake waves is first recorded on the Seismograph?

(a) P-waves
(b) Rayleigh waves
(c) S-waves
(d) Love waves

 

Answer: (a)