Afghanistan rattled by 5.2 magnitude earthquake following recent seismic events

Today, Afghanistan was jolted by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, as confirmed by the National Centre for Seismology (NCS). The earthquake occurred early on Tuesday morning, around 7:35 AM. At present, no reports of casualties or injuries have emerged. Only a day earlier, an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale had struck Afghanistan’s Fayzabad. The NCS disclosed that the quake took place 180 km deep and the epicentre was located 151 km southeast of Fayzabad at 8:04 AM.

The earthquakes come in the wake of the catastrophic quake that hit Afghanistan’s Herat region in October, which led to the death of over 4,000 people and caused widespread destruction of homes. Powerful aftershocks of a 6.3 magnitude earthquake were felt in Herat and the surrounding regions.

The US Geological Survey has ascertained that all four earthquakes were due to shallow thrust faulting. The fault plane solution indicates a rupture source striking from east to west with a dip either northward or southward. The region was hit by a 4.8 MB aftershock the day following a 5.0 MB event on October 28. In the past year alone, Afghanistan has experienced 276 earthquakes of varying magnitudes. A particularly destructive sequence of earthquakes caused considerable damage and loss of life. Just over a week before this, the same region was hit by a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake, resulting in hundreds of deaths and the obliteration of entire villages.

In the days preceding the October 15th earthquake near Herat, three smaller earthquakes of similar magnitude occurred. These were also due to thrust faulting at shallow depths. The frequent seismic events have not only caused immediate destruction but also raised concerns about the increasing frequency of earthquakes in the region. Since July 2023, Mount St. Helens has reported around 400 earthquakes, indicating a rise in global seismic activity.

As Afghanistan grapples with recovery from the recent earthquakes, international relief organisations, like the International Rescue Committee (IRC), have been actively providing emergency response assistance.