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Earthquakes in Afghanistan

Why is it in the news?

 More about the news

  • Afghanistan, hemmed in by mountains, has a long history of strong earthquakes, many in the rugged Hindu Kush region bordering Pakistan.
  • A look at a list of Afghan quakes over the past three decades: BADAKHSHAN (2023), KUNAR (2022), PAKTIKA (2022), HINDU KUSH (2015), HINDU KUSH (2002), HINDU KUSH (1991) and QAYEN (1997).

 Causes of Earthquakes in the region

Alpide belt

  • Afghanistan is earthquake-prone because it’s located in the mountainous Hindu Kush region, which is part of the Alpide belt. This belt is the second most seismically active region in the world after the Pacific Ring of Fire.
  • The Alpide belt runs about 15,000 kilometres, from the southern part of Eurasia through the Himalayas and into the Atlantic.
  • Along with the Hindu Kush, it includes a number of mountain ranges, such as the Alps, Atlas Mountains and the Caucasus Mountains.

 Converging plates

  • The Earth’s crust is especially lively in Afghanistan because it is where the Arabian, Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.
  • The boundary between the Indian and Eurasian plates exists near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.
  • Recent earthquake formed when the Indian plate crashed violently with the Eurasian plate.
  • Collisions like this shake and squeeze the ground upwards.
  • Along with causing earthquakes, this movement creates mountains like the Himalayas or the Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountain ranges in northeast Afghanistan.

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