A massive earthquake measuring at magnitude-7.7 hit parts of Northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, reports NDTV. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake was measured at magnitude-7.7. However, the Pakistan Meteorological Department has listed the earthquake to be an even more severe magnitude 8.1 quake. The Indian Meteorological Department, on the other hand, says that this quake was a magnitude-7.5 incident.
Nevertheless, it is clear that this earthquake is one of the worst to hit the regions in recent times. The true scale of damage caused by this earthquake will only come to light in the next few hours. There are, however, initial reports of casualties from Pakistan, where government authorities have confirmed four fatalities. Fresh reports from the Guardian added that 12 students of a girls school located in Afghanistan’s Takhar province were killed during a stampede that occurred just after earthquake. Thirty girls have been taken to the hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan, the report added.
The effect of the massive earthquake was felt several miles away in the Indian city of New Delhi as well, where people panicked. According to initial reports, the quake lasted for well over a minute. Services of the Delhi Metro were temporarily stopped. People reportedly ran out of buildings and office blocks as the tremors started and continued for several seconds. Several images of people assembled outside office buildings and colleges are being shared on social media websites right now. Landslides were also reported from several areas in Northern Pakistan. An entire glacier has also reportedly collapsed in the northern areas of Pakistan.
— Saeed Gorshani (@Saeed_Gorshani) October 26, 2015
— سبینا صدیقی (@sabena_siddiqi) October 26, 2015
— SkymetWeather (@SkymetWeather) October 26, 2015
According to USGS, the epicenter of the earthquake was near the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. The earthquake happened at an approximate depth of around 210 kilometers. This is a seismically active area owing to the fact that this is where the Indian plate meets the Eurasian plate. The Indian plate is plowing into the Eurasian plate at an estimated velocity of 37mm per year. The epicenter is located around 45 miles from the town of Jarm and 158 miles away from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
According to reports coming in from the Kashmir region, electricity poles and other infrastructure were damaged following the earthquake. In the city of Chandigarh in northern India, several people ran out of their homes and offices and remained outside after they feared of possible aftershocks. Photographs showing severe cracks in several buildings and structures across northern India were also posted online.
This is not the first time that an earthquake of similar magnitude has hit the region. A decade ago, in 2005 a massive 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the Pakistan-controlled area of Kashmir and left an estimated 75,000 people dead.
More recently, earlier this year, the Nepal earthquake also left more than 9,000 people dead.
We will add more details to this report as and when more information comes in.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]