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article imageStrong earthquake shakes buildings across South Asia

By Karen Graham     Apr 10, 2016 in Environment
Kabul - South-western Asia was hit by a 6,6 magnitude earthquake today that was felt in a number of cities. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Afghanistan, close to its border with Tajikistan, at 10:28 GMT, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The USGS says the earthquake was measured at a depth of 210 kilometers (130.5 miles), the same depth as the October 26, 2015, magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck near the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. The 2015 quake killed close to 300 people and destroyed thousands of homes.
Today's earthquake forced people in Kabul and Islamabad to leave their homes as buildings swayed for over a minute. Very similar reports were heard in northern and central Pakistan and India, where tremors were felt as far away as the capital, New Delhi.
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Ahmad Kamal, a spokesman at National Disaster Management Authority told CBS News damage reports have not yet come in from the earthquake-hit areas, but there is always the fear of landslides which are common in the region. He has asked all regional authorities to be prepared for all possible contingencies.
Pakistani student Kiran Saeed was at home studying when her chair started shaking. At first, she said, she thought someone was doing it on purpose, but then the walls started to shake. "When I turned back, no one was there and then the walls started shaking. We came out of the home and everyone was reciting verses from Quran," she told the AP from Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, according to ABC.net.au.
In India, the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder said the metro train system was temporarily halted and even though New Delhi was far from the epicenter of the quake, a number of aftershocks were felt. At this time, there have been reports of injuries, but no reports of casualties.
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The earthquake occurred in one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth, according to the USGS. The Hindu Kiush Mountains sit on a corner of the Indian plate, instead of being at the front line of the continent's collision. This movement is continuous as the Himalayas are thrust upwards and India slowly disappears beneath Eurasia at a rate of 40-50 millimeters (2.0 inches) per year.
In this particularly rugged region, it is the sideways slip between India and Afghanistan when it meets the head-on impact of the Himalayan fault line that causes such strong earthquakes.This is because there are many fault lines and forces, all pushing in different directions.
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