Western Afghanistan was struck by yet another powerful earthquake on Sunday, its fourth in just over a week.
Sunday’s earthquakes came in at 6. 3 and 5. 4 magnitudes, with the epicenter just 20 miles outside Herat City, The New York Times reported.
About 1,300 people were killed by the initial 6. 3 magnitude earthquake on October 7. Another 1,700 were injured. On October 11., a fourth large earthquake hit the area.
In the past week, residents of Herat Province — unsure as to when the earthquakes would stop — fled or relocated into tents in order to prevent collapsed buildings.
This series of large earthquakes has never happened before in the area, says William Barnhart. He is the assistant coordinator at the US Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program.
“There’s very little precedent for a sequence like this where you have four earthquakes of the same magnitude in a week, and even less precedence in this part of Afghanistan where, to the best of my knowledge, there’s just no history of damage and earthquakes in and around Herat,” Barnhart told Insider.
This makes the quakes in Herat particularly dangerous. Buildings and infrastructure tend to be vulnerable in regions that aren’t prone to earthquakes, Barnhart said.
Earthquakes of this frequency and size following an initial 6. 3-magnitude quake are rare almost anywhere in the world.
“I’ve been looking through statistics and I haven’t found instances of this except for cases in volcanically active regions or in aftershock sequences of much bigger earthquakes,” Barnhart said. “But neither of those scenarios apply to this ongoing earthquake sequence.”
While Barnhart said it’s unlikely the region will experience yet another 6. 3-magnitude earthquake, he said he can’t know for sure.
” We have no idea what is going to happen,” Barnhart stated. “Hopefully, this is the end of this sequence, but it is possible that there could be more earthquakes of this magnitude or perhaps even larger.”
The post A part of Afghanistan not known for seismic activity was struck by an ‘unprecedented’ number of big earthquakes this week and no one knows when they’ll end, an expert says appeared first on Business Insider.