Earthquake in Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush Region

Running head: Earthquake in Afghanistan
Earthquake in Afghanistan

Earthquake in Afghanistan
Alima khan

The Location and Geological Description
On October 26, 2015, a quake of 7.5 magnitudes on richer scale hit the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. The earthquake was as a result of reverse faulting. The faulting was at an intermediate height of about 210 kilometers below the said region in northeastern Afghanistan. Preliminary reports indicate that the earthquake occurred as a result of either a shallow dipping fault thrust or a nearly vertical reverse fault. In the location that the earthquake occurred, the Eurasian plate collides with the Indian plate moving northwards at an average velocity of about 33mm/yr. (“M7.5 – 45km E of Farkhar, Afghanistan”, 2016)
The active faults and the accompanying earthquakes that litter the northern Pakistan area and the adjacent India and Afghanistan are as a direct result of the convergence between the Eurasian and Indian plates. The same collision has also caused the formation of the world’s highest mountain peaks including the Hindu Kush ranges, the Pamir, the Karakorum, and even the Himalayan. (“M7.5 – 45km E of Farkhar, Afghanistan”, 2016)
Seismic tremors, for example, this occasion, with focal depths somewhere around 70 and 300 km, are regularly termed “intermediate depth” quakes. The seismic tremors are as a result of disfigurement within subducted lithosphere as opposed to at the shallow plate interfaces in subducting and overriding tectonic plates. They ordinarily cause less harm on the ground surface over their foci than is the case with comparatively similar magnitude shallow-focus quakes, yet huge intermediate depth seismic tremors might be felt at incredibly great distances from their epicenters. “Deep focus” quakes, those with focal depths more than 300 km deep, additionally happen underneath the northeastern piece of Afghanistan. Seismic tremors have been located in a little more than 300 km deep in the region. The tremors of this quake were felt in different areas that included Pakistan and other regions such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It was also felt in India, New Delhi, Kashmir and Jammu and also in Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital. (“Major M8.1 earthquake hits Hindu Kush region, Afghanistan”, 2015)
Similar Occurrences in the Region and the Comparison
Seven other M 7 or more prominent seismic tremors have happened within 250 km radius of this event over the century preceding, the latest being a M 7.4 quake in March 2002 only 20 km toward the west of the October 26, 2015, occasion, and with a comparable focal depth and a thrust fault cause. The 2002 occasion brought on more than 150 fatalities and the harm or pulverization of more than 400 houses in connection to a related landslide. (Vervaeck, 2015)
A magnitude 7.4 earthquake at a comparatively similar depth only 8 km south of the October 26, 2015, earthquake, in December 1983, brought about 26 fatalities, several wounds and fairly extensive damage and devastation in the area. The most devastating recent occasion in the district happened 330 km southeast of the October 26, 2015, earthquake, in the Kashmir district of Pakistan on October eighth, 2005. This 2005 occasion caused the death of more than 86,000 individuals and brought on extensive damage to the area. The 2005 occasion was shallow (26 km) and brought about by geologic forces that are unmistakably distinctive to those driving deep seismic tremors in the Hindu Kush. (Vervaeck, 2015)
Social Economic Effects of the Earthquake
The earthquake had devastating effects in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas it hit hard. In Afghanistan, the number of fatalities was approximated to be at least 115 people. This included twelve school going children aged between 10 and 15 years killed in a stampede at their school while exiting a building. Additionally around 4000 homes were damaged. In the neighboring Pakistan, the death toll was estimated to be about 280 people, with more than 1770 individuals being severely injured. In India, the earthquake resulted in the death of four people. The earthquake also resulted in 14 injuries ranging from mild to severe as a staircase collapsed in a school in Tajikistan.
The economic impacts of the earthquake range from direct losses caused from damages to property to indirect losses from reconstruction costs of the aftermath. According to government estimates, the direct damage that resulted from the earthquake included the buildings that collapsed, the assets in the buildings that got destroyed or collapsed and the impact it had on other services such as communication and transport. In India, it led to about 190 trains being stopped during and after the earthquake. Additionally due to high voice traffic, it resulted in the choking of the mobile phone services for hours. In Pakistan, the number of buildings partially destroyed was approximated to be around 29,230 and about 79,893 totally damaged. (Vervaeck, 2015)
As for the indirect losses, in all the affected regions, business remained closed for days after the tragedy and trade was partially paralyzed. Additionally, the infrastructure that was damaged by the quake led to decrease in production hence the regions experienced diminished value and curtailed production not to mention the high cost of reconstruction. According to the NWFP report, it is estimated that the direct damages incurred were 2.3 billion US dollars. The highest hit sector was private housing, followed by transport and education. The estimate for the indirect losses that resulted from the direct damage was estimated at 576 US dollars. In the economic sector these losses were equally high for the livestock and agriculture as well as it was for services industry sector. The reconstruction costs were estimated to be 3.5 billion US dollars and were valued at a rate of improved standard replacement.

M7.5 – 45km E of Farkhar, Afghanistan. (2016). Retrieved 26 April 2016, from
Vervaeck, A. (2015). Deadly massive deep earthquake in Afghanistan and Pakistan – At least 508 fatalities, thousands injured. Retrieved 26 April 2016, from
Major M8.1 earthquake hits Hindu Kush region, Afghanistan. (2015). The Watchers – Watching the world evolve and transform. Retrieved 26 April 2016, from

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