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Recent seismic activity in the NW Himalayan Fold and Thrust Belt, Pakistan: focal mechanism solution and its tectonic implications

Department of Earth Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan (e-mail:
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January 01, 2009


The Himalayas in northern Pakistan have been the site of several disastrous earthquakes of moderate to high intensity. The 8 October 2005 Muzaffarabad earthquake, with magnitude Mw 7.6, occurred in the NW Himalayan Fold and Thrust Belt at 08:50:38 local time. The epicentre of the main shock was located 19 km NE of Muzaffarabad. This earthquake took a death toll of more than 80 000 human lives and caused widespread destruction in Kashmir and north Pakistan, particularly in the towns of Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Rawalakot, Mansehra, Balakot, Abbottabad and Batgram. Based on the information obtained from print and electronic media (and for some areas from field studies), an intensity of X (MMI scale) has been assigned at the epicentral location including the localities of Muzaffarabad and Balakot. Epicentral distribution of 300 aftershocks indicates that more than one tectonic subdivision of the fold belt have experienced instability. Focal depths indicate that most activity is confined to a narrow depth range (5–20 km). Further extension of the Indus Kohistan Seismic Zone in the Hazara–Kashmir syntaxial area and activation of more than one fault seem to be the cause of this seismic activity, as suggested by the focal mechanism of the main event and depth distribution of the aftershocks. About 100 large landslides caused by active faulting have been observed in the rupture zones near Balakot, Muzaffarabad, Kardalla, Hattian Bala, Sarain, Sunddangali and Bagh, through field studies and satellite images.

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Figures & Tables


Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Palaeoseismology: Historical and Prehistorical Records of Earthquake Ground Effects for Seismic Hazard Assessment

K. Reicherter
K. Reicherter
RWTH Aachen University, Germany
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A. M. Michetti
A. M. Michetti
Università dell’Insubria, Italy
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P. G. Silva
P. G. Silva
Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
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The Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2009




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