2015 EARTHQUAKE PAKISTAN
The October 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake was a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck South Asia on 26 October 2015, at 13:39 AFT, 14:09 PKT, 14:39 IST (09:09 UTC) with the epicenter 45 km north of `Alaqahdari-ye Kiran wa Munjan, Afghanistan, at a depth of 212.5 km. An aftershock of magnitude 4.8 struck 40 minutes after the main earthquake; thirteen more aftershocks of magnitude 4.1 or greater had struck by the morning of 29 October.
By 5 November, it was estimated that at least 398 people were killed, mostly in Pakistan. Tremors were felt in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. According to the United States Geological Survey, Pakistan is in the most active quake zone in the world. The earthquake was also felt in New Delhi, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and as far as Lucknow and in the prefectures of Kashgar, Aksu, Hotan, and Kizilsu in Xinjiang, China while damage was also reported in Afghan capital Kabul. The tremor was also felt in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.
The Himalayan mountains pushed up by the collision of tectonic plates, are prone to devastating quakes. An earthquake in April 2015, Nepal’s worst in 80 years, killed over 8,600 people.
The last major earthquake in the same region of similar magnitude (7.6 Mw) was almost exactly ten years prior in October 2005, which resulted in 87,351 deaths, 75,266 injured, 2.8 million people being displaced, and 250,000 farm animals dying. The notable difference between this earthquake and the 2005 earthquake is the depth of the seismic activity. The 2005 earthquake was 15 km deep while this earthquake was 212.5 km deep, reducing its effects at the surface.
In recent studies, geologists claim that global warming is one of the reasons for increased seismic activity. According to these studies melting glaciers and rising sea levels disturb the balance of pressure on Earth’s tectonic plates thus causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes. This could be one of the reasons why the Himalayas are getting more prone to earthquakes in recent years.
The earthquake killed at least 279 people in Pakistan, where tremors were felt in major cities. At least 194 injured were taken to a hospital in Swat and more than 100 to a hospital in Peshawar. There was widespread damage in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The most affected areas from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa include Shangla, Lower Dir, Upper Dir,Swat and Chitral. The Karakoram Highway was closed.