ISLAMABAD: Tremors hit Islamabad, north Punjab and some areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday night.

The minor earthquake, originating in Azad Kashmir, was the second one to have hit the areas in four days. No loss of life or property was reported as the tremors were of low intensity.

The 5.6 magnitude quake originated in the mountainous region, some 104 kilometres northeast of Muzafarabad, the capital of AJK, at 9.47pm, and its epicentre was 40 kilometres below the ground.

“The shallow quakes are felt over longer distance but if the magnitude is above level 6 at the scale the consequences become serious,” said an official of the Met office.

Minor jolts were felt in Islamabad, Peshawar, Abbottabad, Haripur, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gilgit and some other areas.

The official said that earthquakes of up to the depth of 150 kilometres were considered shallow in technical terms.

“Very deep earthquakes do not travel too far but can be severe to localised areas which are directly over the epicentre, whereas shallow quakes travel to distant areas and could be extremely destructive if the magnitude is above 6.5,” the official added.

The 2005 earthquake, which is considered one of major natural disasters faced by the country, was merely 10 kilometres deep with 7.6 magnitude on the Richter scale.

On Feb 2 this year, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Islamabad and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Originated in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan, its epicentre was 80 kilometres deep.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2019

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