A powerful 4.4 magnitude earthquake rattled Pakistan’s capital and other cities across the country on Thursday, causing panic among people but with no immediate reports of casualties or major damages.
The earthquake rattled Islamabad, Murree, Swat, Battgram, Malakand, Azad Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Layyah, Neelum Valley and other cities and town.
However, no loss of life was initially reported.
Terrified residents fled their homes and offices as buildings swayed. Television footage showed people praying in public.
The epicenter of the quake was in Swat’s Mingora area and it struck 20 kilometer below the surface.
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.