Magnitude 4.1 quake felt in parts of Punjab

Updated January 27, 2016

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LAHORE: Quake tremors shook Lahore, Faisalabad, Nankana Sahib, Sargodha, Sialkot, Sheikhupura and other parts of Punjab on Wednesday.

The 4.1 magnitude quake was recorded at a focal depth of 10 kilometres, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said, with its epicentre near Nankana Sahib. The PMD earlier estimated the magnitude of the quake at 4.0.

Television footage showed electronic fixtures inside buildings shaking. The tremors caused fear and panic to spread among residents who vacated buildings and headed for open spaces.

Over a dozen small quakes have been felt in the region since 2016 began.

"[Our country is located] on an earthquake-prone belt, but this does not mean that things are dangerous for Pakistan all the time," Director General Met Dr Ghulam Rasul, the country’s top meteorologist, said earlier in January.

Small and frequent tremors are far less dangerous, he said, as they help dissipate seismic energy which, if stored up for too long, manifests itself in the shape of massive quakes that can cause widespread damage.

Pakistan is located in the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone, which is roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin.

This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults.

Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the South Asian plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range.

Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes.

The PMD recorded about 851 seismic disturbances in 2015.