Natural Disasters

5.6-magnitude earthquake hits Afghanistan

This may be an aftershock of the quake that struck the country in October last year, experts suggest

By Jigyasa Watwani
Published: Wednesday 13 January 2016

An earthquake of magnitude 5.6 on the Richter scale struck Afghanistan at 01:35 hours IST on January 13.

The epicentre was located 28 km south of Jarm in the landlocked country. Tremors were felt as far as Jammu and Kashmir.

“This may be an aftershock of the 7.5-magnitude quake that jolted Afghanistan on October 26 last year. Aftershocks are felt even months after the main quake, as we have already seen in Nepal,” said CP Rajendran, professor at geodynamics unit of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.

Seismicity in Himalayas is a result of continental collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/year. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates earthquakes and consequently makes the Hindu-Kush Himalayas one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth.

“Seismic waves from Uttarakhand will reach Delhi in seconds. In today’s modern setup, why can’t we put in place effective warning systems after a major earthquake? Alerts can be dispelled online if we expect aftershocks,” Rajendran added.

With a depth of nearly 230 km, the earthquake is not expected to cause much damage to life and property, unless structures are highly vulnerable. No loss of life and property has been reported from Jammu and Kashmir so far.

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