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7.5-Magnitude Earthquake in Afghanistan

[Photo] USGS

Yesterday morning, October 26, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Afghanistan 28 miles north of “Alaqahdari-ye Kiran wa Munjan, in the Hindu Kush mountains,” the USGS reports.

The quake resulted in more than 300 casualties in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, with close to 2,000 reported injured in Pakistan, states The New York Times. The tremor destroyed roughly 7,000 homes in Afghanistan alone. The death toll is expected to rise steeply as much of the damage is in remote regions with villages that are cut off from communication.

Landslides have covered parts of the Karakoram Highway, Geological Survey of Pakistan Director General Imran Khan told the BBC. Slides have also been reported in the Hunza valley in northern Pakistan.

The most recent major earthquake to strike the region, a magnitude 7.4, occurred in March 2002, 12 miles west of yesterday’s tremor. Both the 2002 quake–resulting in 150 deaths and damage to 400 homes–and yesterday’s quake were “intermediate depth,” which are typically less destructive in the immediate area than shallow ones, but can cause damage farther away from the epicenter, the USGS says. The quake’s affects were felt over 600 miles away, in India’s capital, New Delhi, the BBC reports.