KARACHI: An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted coastal parts of Balochistan on Tuesday night.

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre (NSMC), Islamabad, the epicentre of the moderate earthquake was 50km south of Gwadar at a depth of 25km in the Makran subduction zone.

No casualty or damage was reported.

“It’s the first time in decades that an earthquake of this magnitude has been reported in the Makran subduction zone and was felt from Gwadar to Omara,” NSMC director Ameer Hyder said.

About the concerns relating to the tsunami threat, he said while an earthquake of this magnitude couldn’t produce a tsunami, there was a need for preparedness as the region had the potential to generate a tsunami anytime.

“The zone has always been a seismically active zone, generating earthquakes of minor intensity occasionally. A tsunami is produced if the earthquake is higher than 6.0 magnitude,” he said.

The Makran subduction zone, Mr Hyder pointed out, covered 600km area, starting from Iran up to Sonmiani, the meeting point of the Indian, Eurasian and Arabian plates.

The department was carrying out drills in the coastal areas for preparedness and had installed sirens at different locations in case of an emergency, he said.

More than 4,000 people were killed along Pakistan’s coast and neighbouring countries, Iran, India and Oman when a tsunami was produced in the Makran subduction zone in 1945.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2022

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