- © 2008 by the Seismological Society of America
The strongest earthquake in the history of Pakistan jolted the northern region at 08:50 local time (03:50 UTC) 8 October 2005. The epicenter of the earthquake was determined by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to be 34.493°N and 73.629°E. This location is in the northern portion of Muzaffarabad district. It had a magnitude of 7.6 with a depth of 26 km. The earthquake caused extensive damage, destruction, and loss of life over a wide region (almost 30,000-km2) including Muzaffarabad, Mansehra, Batagram, Bagh, and Poonch (see figure 1). The impact of the main shock was felt as far away as Lahore (350 km from epicenter). About 90,000 people died, 79,000 were injured, and more than 3.5 million were rendered homeless. More than 1,200 aftershocks were recorded through 7 November 2005.
According to government figures, 19,000 children died in the earthquake, most due to the collapse of school buildings. The earthquake affected more than 500,000 families. More than 400,000 buildings were damaged. The destruction of about 7,000 school buildings and several hospitals caused further difficulties in relief operations and social rehabilitation. Adobe, stone masonry, concrete block masonry, brick masonry, and timber structures are the dominant building types in the region. Reinforced concrete frame structures usually are constructed only in urban areas.
This article is the outcome of a field visit made just after the event. The field visit was supported by the German Task Force for Earthquakes (GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam) and Earthquake Damage Analysis Center (EDAC), Weimar (Maqsood et al. 2006).
Regional Seismic History
Figure 2 shows the past seismicity in and around Pakistan. There was no major event recorded in the recent past in the epicentral area before the 8 October 2005 earthquake. But very high seismic activity was seen after the main event, …