Morocco quake toll rises above 2,100, Al-Haouz province suffers most deaths


Context: Moroccans witnessed a devastating earthquake that killed more than 2,100 people as rescue teams raced to find survivors trapped under the rubble of flattened villages.


About the Morocco earthquake

  • It was the strongest-ever quake recorded in the North African country that killed at least 2,122 people and injured over 2,400.
  • The quake was the deadliest in Morocco since a 1960 earthquake destroyed Agadir and killed more than 12,000 people.
  • Friday’s 6.8-magnitude quake struck 72 kilometres southwest of the tourist hub of Marrakech, wiping out entire villages in the hills of the Atlas mountain range. 
  • Al-Haouz province, site of the epicentre, suffered the most deaths with 1,351.
  • The Red Cross warned that it could take years to repair the damage.



Geography of Morocco 

  • It lies along the boundary of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates where two massive plates interact, and their movements can result in seismic activity.
  • Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.


Why did the Morocco Earthquake occur?

  • According to the United States Geological Survey(USGS), “large destructive earthquakes have been recorded and reported from Morocco in the western Mediterranean”.
  • Such quakes occur due to the “northward convergence of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary.” 
  • With respect to this earthquake, the USGS attributed it to “oblique-reverse faulting at shallow depth within the Moroccan High Atlas Mountain range”.


A map of the major tectonic plates on our planet. The quake occurred roughly 500 km away from the point where the African and Eurasian plates meet






According to experts, such quakes are generally more dangerous as they carry more energy than when they emerge to the surface, when compared to quakes that occur deeper underneath the surface. 


While deeper quakes do indeed spread farther as seismic waves move radially upwards to the surface, they lose energy while travelling greater distances.



Imp for: GS Paper I

Topic: Geography, Earthquakes

Imp for: GS Paper III

Topic: Disaster Management


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