9/24/2013 Pakistan Quake

On Tuesday September 24, 2013 at 16:29 UTC (9:29 PM local time) Southwestern Pakistan was hit by a 7.7M quake. The epicenter was 39 miles from the city Awaran in Bolochistan. This quake was followed two days later with a 6.8M quake in the same area. The quake was felt at far away as Delhi and Karachi.

366 people were killed in the first quake with another 7 dead from the second. Over 700 were injured. An estimated 21,000 buildings were destroyed. Relief efforts were hindered by the remoteness of the area with poor communications. There is also a separatist movement that hinders government access. There was a report that a government helicopter assessing damage was fired upon by separatists. Off the coast, a new rocky island was formed as the quake lifted the seafloor.

Survivors were afraid to stay inside hospital or other buildings, after the second quake in temperatures as high as 100ºF with little food, water or shelter.

These quakes occurred near the intersection of three tectonic plates, the Indian Plate to the east, the Arabian Plate to the west and the Eurasian plate to the north. Both the Indian and Arabian plates are moving northwards relative to the Eurasian plate at different rates. Although these complex plate movements lead to frequent small quakes, there has not been one this big in over 40 years. (See the Plate Tectonics page for more information on these processes.) The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes. See the USGS summary of this quake 

News Reports:

New earthquake strikes hard-hit Pakistan (CNN 9/28/13)

Quake kills 45 in Pakistan creates new island in sea (Reuters 9/24/13)

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