June 2022 earthquake in Afghanistan

Article

July 6, 2022

The June 2022 earthquake in Afghanistan occurred at 1:24 am Afghanistan time (UTC+04:30) on June 22, 2022 (June 21 20:54 UTC) right in front of the Durand Line, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is an earthquake with a magnitude of Mw 6.2. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the magnitude of the corrected moment of the earthquake is 5.9 Mwb and the depth of the epicenter is 10 km. The tremors of this earthquake were felt in parts of India 500 km away from the epicenter, Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, eastern Punjab, and eastern Iran. It is the deadliest earthquake in 2022, with more than one person injured. More than 25 villages suffered heavy damage and hundreds of buildings collapsed. The earthquake struck at a shallow depth just below a densely populated area with a lot of undesigned houses made of wood and mud in landslide-prone terrain, causing great damage for its scale.

Background

In Afghanistan, more than 7,000 people have died from earthquakes in the past decade, and an average of 560 people have died from earthquakes a year. In October 2015, the Hindu Kush earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 killed more than 200 people in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. In 2008, a magnitude M6.4 earthquake in western Pakistan killed 166 people and destroyed several villages in a landslide. Prior to that, earthquakes in Afghanistan in 2002 and 1998 killed about 1,000 people and about 4,700 people, respectively.

Geological Characteristics

Most of Afghanistan's land belongs to the large metamorphic zone inside the Eurasian plate. Seismic activity in Afghanistan is influenced by subduction of the Arabian Plate to the west and gregarious subduction of the Indian Plate to the east. The rate of subduction along the major inverse Himalayan fault of the Indian plate is estimated to be greater than 39 mm/yr. Movements due to plate interactions are associated with seismic activity that occurs frequently at thin points in the crust. Earthquakes caused by plate subsidence can be observed up to 300 km deep underground in Afghanistan. The Chaman Fault, which forms the boundary between the Eurasian and Indian plates, is a major transformation fault in Afghanistan that causes superficial earthquakes. Most of the earthquakes in the area where the earthquake occurred in June 2022 are caused by the movement of the thrust fault (thrust fault) and the strike fault fault.

Earthquake

This earthquake is a strike-fault type earthquake that occurred at a shallow depth. The USGS initially measured it to be an earthquake of magnitude M6.1 that occurred at a depth of 51 km, but was later revised to be an earthquake of magnitude Mwb5.9 - Mww6.0 that occurred at a depth of 10 km. The USGS analyzed that the earthquake was a left-flow fault with a northeast strike or a storm-fault fault with a northwest strike. The GEOSCOPE observatory measured that an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 occurred at a depth of 6 km and suggested two epicenters. One was analyzed that it occurred in the left-facing fault with a south-west-north-north-east direction and a west-north slope of 70°. The other analyzed that it occurred in the Usu-facing fault with an almost vertical inclination oriented west-north-east-southeast. The European-Mediterranean Earthquake Center estimated the magnitude of the earthquake to be Mw5.9. In addition, the Earth's central moment tensor was measured as an earthquake with a magnitude of Mw6.2 that occurred at a depth of 15.1 km.

Impact

Afghanistan

At least 1,500 people died and more than 2,000 were killed in the earthquake