Middle East Afflicted by M5.1 Earthquake


The regions in and around Eurasia, Africa, India, and the Middle East were afflicted by an earthquake registering at M5.1 on the richter scale. The tremor was the product of the tectonic plates in those regions colliding with one another. The mountains that are still growing in northern Afghanistan is a direct response to the plates in India and Eurasia advancing in a northern trajectory, at a speed of 40 mm/yr.

On the eastern end of the earthquake’s center, in the Mediterranean region, the Red Sea Rift continues to spread as the tectonics in Africa and Arabia’s grounds move northward, as well. The speed that their plates move is much slower, advancing only 10 mm/yr.

The seismic activity around those four regions, given the size of the earthquake, has helped to construct new volcanic systems across the western expanse of Saudi Arabia. However, the region is no stranger to the seismic occurrences. In the past, the Near East earthquake is suspected of having killed up to 20,000 citizens. In August of 1999, the M7.6 Izmit quake killed roughly 17,000 people.

At the moment, the shifting plates are contained to only produce moderate levels of seismic activity, so nothing yet has matched or surpassed that 1999 Izmit quake, in terms of the richter scale or casualties. Geologists will monitor the formation of those aforementioned volcanic systems in hopes to know the chances of their likely eruptions.

By Matthew Austin Bowers

U.S. Geological Survey: M5.1 – 129km SSW of Jiwani, Pakistan

Photo Courtesy of Photo RNW.org’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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