Written by on . Last updated April 17th, 2024.

In the early morning of Tuesday March 19th, 2024, a shallow and significant Magnitude 5.5 earthquake hit under land 216 kilometer from Kandahār in Afghanistan. Around 6.2 million people have been exposed to shaking. Another country near the epicenter is Pakistan.

Felt the earthquake? Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn

Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in Afghanistan, 216 kilometer (134 mi) south of Kandahār in Kandahar. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 8 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Mar 19, 2024 05:35 (Karachi Time)
- Mar 19, 2024 00:35 Universal Time.
Location: 64 km WNW of Nushki, Balochistan, Pakistan.
Coordinates 29°41'25"N 65°22'45"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.5
Detected by 21 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.068 .
Depth: 8 km (5 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VII
Very Strong

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
While this was a shallow earthquake, it appears to have occurred under land with a magnitude not strong enough to cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 95% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact.

Roughly 6.2 million people exposed to shaking

An estimated 6.2 million have been exposed to shaking (An MMI or Modified Mercalli Intensity level II or higher) as a result of this earthquake according scientific estimates published by the USGS.

An estimated 11,470 people were exposed to level VI. At this level, strong shaking and probably light damage can be expected. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 5.5 million). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected.

People in 2 countries have been exposed to shaking. In Pakistan , around 5.6 million people, with impact levels up to VI (strong shaking, probably light damage). Roughly 620 thousand people were exposed to shaking in Afghanistan .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
40,370
II
Very weak None
5,451,000
III
Weak Probably none
700,700
IV
Light Likely none
12,220
V
Moderate Very light
11,470
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

Pakistan and Afghanistan are both located within 300km distance of the epicenter of the earthquake.

Nushki in Balochistan, Pakistan is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred 64 kilometer (40 mi) west-northwest of Nushki. The intensity of shaking and damage in Nushki is estimated to be around level IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (light shaking, likely no damage).

Multiple large cities are in proximity of today's earthquake. Quetta is located 166 km to the east-northeast and experienced an intensity of III (weak shaking, probably no damage). Kandahār is located 216 km to the north (intensity unknown, possibly low). Khuzdar is located 241 km to the south-southeast (intensity unknown, possibly low).

A complete list of nearby places is included below. Estimated intensity data (MMI) sourced from a shake-map published by the US Geographic Survey is shown where available (cities without data probably experienced little impact).

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
64 km (40 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Nushki

Balochistan, Pakistan.
IV
Light
123 km (76 mi)
S from epicenter
Kharan

Balochistan, Pakistan.
IV
Light
139 km (86 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Kalat

Balochistan, Pakistan.
III
Weak
142 km (88 mi)
E from epicenter
Mastung

Balochistan, Pakistan.
III
Weak
165 km (103 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Kot Malik Barkhurdar

Balochistan, Pakistan.
III
Weak
166 km (103 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Quetta

Balochistan, Pakistan.
III
Weak
171 km (106 mi)
NE from epicenter
Chaman

Balochistan, Pakistan.
III
Weak
184 km (114 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Pishin

Balochistan, Pakistan.
III
Weak
189 km (117 mi)
E from epicenter
Mach

Balochistan, Pakistan.
III
Weak
216 km (134 mi)
N from epicenter
Kandahār

Kandahar, Afghanistan.
221 km (137 mi)
E from epicenter
Dadhar

Balochistan, Pakistan.
233 km (145 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Lashkar Gāh

Helmand, Afghanistan.
241 km (150 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Khuzdar

Balochistan, Pakistan.
242 km (150 mi)
E from epicenter
Sibi

Balochistan, Pakistan.
249 km (155 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Gereshk

Helmand, Afghanistan.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The graph below overlays a map of the region around the epicenter with earthquake intensity data provided by the US Geographic Survey. The highest intensity level detected for this earthquake is VII.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

Shaking reported by 12 people in 2 countries

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 12 people have reported shaking in 3 places in 2 countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan).We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Kandahar, Kandahār, Afghanistan: 6 people.
  • Kot Abdul Malik, Punjab, Pakistan: 4 people.
  • Nushki, Baluchistan, Pakistan: 2 people.

2 Aftershocks detected

Since this main shock, 2 smaller aftershocks were detected. Just 21 hrs after this main shock, an earthquake measuring MAG-5.3 was detected 7 km (4 mi) north-northwest of this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.5 Mar 19, 2024 05:35AM
(Karachi Time)
-
Aftershock M 5.3 21 hrs later
Mar 20, 2024 02:27AM (Karachi Time)
7 km (4 mi)
NNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.0 1 day later
Mar 20, 2024 09:19AM (Karachi Time)
48 km (30 mi)
SE from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

The risk of aftershocks decreases rapidly over time. Usually, aftershocks are at least one order of magnitude lower than a main shock.

It's always adviced to be cautious of the risk of a larger shock following any significant earthquake, however this risk is fairly small. There is a roughly 94 percent change that no larger main shock will follow in the days following this earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this are common in the region

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since October 6th, 2021, when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit 258 km (160 mi) further east-northeast. That was also the heaviest earthquake to hit the region in the past 10 years.

In total, 5 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.5 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every 2 years.

Tsunami very unlikely

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

While MAG-6.5+ earthquakes may cause tsunami's, it appears that the epicenter of this earthquake hit under land. In addition, the reported depth is deeper than 100km, making the risk of a tsunami even less likely. However always stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake Not this earthquake.
This earthquake appears to have struck on land far from any coast.
Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.5. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 8 km (5 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 17/04/24 03:48 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000mjpj
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240319_0000010
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

Share this article: Share on Facebook Tweet Submit to Reddit Share on LinkedIn