Earthquake tremors felt in northwestern Pakistan

CHITRAL: Earthquake tremors were felt in different areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa early Saturday morning, a few weeks after a severe earthquake hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The jolts were felt in Buner, Malakand, Swat and adjoining areas.

People left their houses and workplaces and headed out for open spaces fearing a strong earthquake. There was no loss of life or property reported after the tremors.

The magnitude of the earthquake 5.0 with the epicentre reported 13 kilometres west of Ashkasham area in Afghanistan at a depth of 90.7 kilometres., according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Meterological Department recorded the magnitude at 5.0, with its epicentre near the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border at a focal depth of 80 km.

The affected areas are still reeling from a strong 7.5 magnitude quake which struck in Oct 2015, killing over 300 people in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Shangla, Chitral, Swat and Dir were among the worst-hit places in the region.

Many houses in the quake-affected areas were reduced to rubble and survivors have had to spend winter sleeping in the open ─ or in tents.

On Dec 25, 2015, over 30 people were injured as a 6.2 magnitude earthquake was felt in parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

Pakistan is located in the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone, which is roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin.

This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults.

Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the South Asian plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range.

Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes.

The PMD recorded about 851 seismic disturbances in 2015.

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