5.6 magnitude earthquake shakes parts of Islamabad, KP and AJK

MUZAFFARABAD (Dunya News) – An earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale jolted Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and its surrounding areas on Friday.

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, the earthquake struck Islamabad, Azaz Kashmir and surrounding areas. The epicentre of the earthquake was Afghanistan-Tajikistan border at a depth of 100km.

Tremors were felt in the federal capital and its adjoining areas,as well as Mansehra, Hazara, Balakot, Battagram, Torghar, Haripur, Abbottbad, Swat, Malakand and Shangla areas of in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

People came out of their homes in panic and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran.

No loss of life and property was reported from any area of the country due to earthquake.

Mysteries behind earthquakes

Earthquakes are a natural disaster that has killed millions of people around the world. According to experts, the earth s crust is made up of three large plates. The first layer is called Eurasian, the second Indian and the third Arabian. When heat accumulates underground, these plates slide. The earth shakes and this condition is called earthquake. Earthquake waves strike in a circle.

Earthquakes or volcanic eruptions are more common in areas at the confluence of these plates. Experts say that once a major earthquake occurs in the area, there could be another major earthquake. Two-thirds of Pakistan s territory is on fault lines, which could cause an earthquake in these areas at any time.

The cities from Karachi to Islamabad, Quetta to Peshawar, Makran to Abbottabad and Gilgit to Chitral are all affected by the quake, with Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan being the most sensitive areas. Pakistan is the fifth most earthquake prone country in the world.

Pakistan is located on the northern border of the Indian plate where it meets the Eurasian plate. The sinking of the Eurasian plate and the advancement of the Indian plate has been going on for millions of years. All fault lines running under two-thirds of Pakistan s territory are operational, where intermittent or moderate earthquakes occur intermittently.

Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are located on the last northern border of the Indian plate, so these areas are considered the most sensitive. Major cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Chakwal are included in Zone III. The underground cities of Quetta, Chaman, Loralai and Mastung are located on the west bank of the Indian Plate, hence it is also called High Risk Zone or Zone Four.

Some coastal areas of Sindh, including Karachi, are on the dangerous fault line zone. This coastal area is located at the junction of 3 plates, which poses a risk of earthquakes and tsunamis.

Experts say that not only the Upper Sindh and Central Punjab areas in Pakistan are on the fault line, so these areas can be considered safe from earthquakes.

On the other hand, in ancient times, strange traditions and stories were attributed to earthquakes. As we heard in our childhood, a huge bull has lifted the earth on one of its horns. When he changes his horn, there is an earthquake.

Greek mythology tells of an earthquake when Poseidon, the god of the sea, pierces the earth with his spear. Ancient Greek philosophers believed that the earth was full of gases. When the gases try to get out, an earthquake occurs.

Until the 18th century, Western scientists, including Newton, supported the idea that earthquakes were caused by the eruption of flammable substances in the earth s crust.

John Weddell, an expert at the University of South Carolina at Los Angeles, says that the rock layers in the earth s crust are in constant motion, and when they slide out of place, there is intense pressure on their edges, and when that pressure reaches a certain level. When it arrives, it appears in the form of an earthquake.

Earthquakes damage things on the surface of the earth. Buildings and other installations collapse. Roads are broken. Trees and power poles collapse. If there are rivers or lakes in the affected area, their location may change. There may be cracks in the mountains.

The epicenter was reported below the ocean floor, however; no tsunami alert was issued. The epicenter was reported below the ground, however; no tsunami alert was issued.

The layers of rock beneath some parts of our earth are of such a nature that they are relatively mobile. Therefore, earthquakes also occur frequently in these areas. Some countries and regions are located in the earthquake zone. These include New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Russia, the Pacific coast in North America, Central America, Peru and Chile. Similarly, many parts of the Pacific Ocean are also included in the areas where there is a risk of more earthquakes.

What is the Richter Scale?

The Richter scale is a scale used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake. The inventor of the Richter scale is Charles Richter, an American scientist who introduced a device in 1935 that can measure earthquakes on a scale of one to 10.

Types of earthquakes

Earthquakes are generally divided into three types. Earthquakes of less than four magnitude on the Richter scale are called mild or weak earthquakes because no greater damage is expected.

An earthquake of magnitude four and less than six is called a moderate magnitude earthquake, which can cause minor damage, such as breaking sugar pots and plates. Earthquakes of magnitude 6 to 7 on the Richter scale can damage buildings. When the magnitude of an earthquake exceeds 8, it can become catastrophic. Buildings can turn into rubble, roads and railway lines can be damaged.

What to do in an earthquake?

In the event of an earthquake, move to an open space outside the building immediately. If it is not possible to get out, take shelter under a table or other similar object to protect yourself from possible debris falling from the roof or walls. Stay away from windows, heavy furniture and large appliances during an earthquake.