More than 2,800 people have been killed and over 2,500 are injured in Morocco after a powerful 6.8 earthquake hit the country on Friday, according to the latest data available. While the epicenter was the highest in the Atlas Mountains about 70 kilometers south of Marrakesh in Al Haouz province, the tremors were also felt in the coastal cities of Rabat, Casablanca, and Essaouira.
The deadly earthquake robbed Moroccan villagers of almost everything – loved ones, homes, and possessions. The rescue operations are still being carried out to remove people who are trapped under the rubble.
What caused the deadly earthquake?
According to geologist Jesús Galindo-Zaldivar, who has been carrying out research on the formation of the Atlas mountains and the geology of the area, the deadly earthquake resulted from a geological phenomenon called a “reverse fault”.
The phenomenon occurs when tectonic plates collide, causing the Earth’s crust to thicken, he told The Conversation. The stress along the fault lines can induce earthquakes as rocks abruptly shift to release accumulated stress, which is characteristic of a seismic fault, he added.
According to the geologist, the massive magnitude implies that the fault responsible for this earthquake is probably around 30km long.
Was the earthquake similar to the one in Turkey?
According to experts, the deadly earthquake in Turkey that claimed the lives of over 50,000 people had a horizontal movement. This was because the country is shifting to the West, moving towards Greece, hence causing a horizontal sliding of the tectonic plates, reported AFP.
However, in Morocco, there was a convergence between Africa and Eurasia or Iberia, the Spanish part, and overlapping faults.
Strongest earthquake in Morocco since 1960
The recent earthquake in the North African country was the deadliest since 1960 – when at least 12,000 were killed – and also the most powerful since at least 1900.
The quake led to massive damage, including to the country’s heritage including buildings in Marrakesh Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the historically significant 12th-century Tinmel Mosque.
(With inputs from agencies)