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Unusual Earthquake in Morocco: Experts Surprised by Recent Seismic Activity

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Unprecedented Earthquake Strikes Morocco: Experts Surprised

On September 8, 2023, the Al Hawz earthquake took place in Morocco, catching experts and specialists off guard. Earthquakes are typically unpredictable, but this one came as a complete surprise.

The Devastating Earthquake

On the night of September 9, a powerful earthquake struck the southern region of the Moroccan Atlas. According to the Moroccan National Institute of Geophysics, it measured 7.2 on the Richter scale, while the US Geological Survey recorded it as 6.8. The village of Ijil, located approximately 80 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, served as the epicenter of this destructive earthquake. Several aftershocks followed, with the strongest measuring 4.9.

Unprecedented Strength

This recent earthquake in Morocco is considered the strongest to occur in the past 60 years, surpassing the 2004 earthquake in the Al-Hoceima region that claimed the lives of over 600 people. The surprise element of the disaster lies in its occurrence in the southeast of the country, rather than the expected seismic zones.

An Unusual Phenomenon

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Sergei Polynets, a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute and an expert on earthquakes in North Africa, described the earthquake and its aftershocks as “unusual” due to their occurrence on plates that had never experienced seismic activity before. The African and Arabian plates have become more active, resulting in seismic activity that was not previously noticeable. This suggests the possibility of larger aftershocks in the North African region in the near future.

Morocco’s Surprise

The Spanish newspaper El Confidencial reported on the horror that struck Morocco as the earthquake hit the country’s southeast, causing the death of nearly 3,000 people. This earthquake is considered strange because it occurred outside of a typical seismic zone.

The Shallow Depth Factor

Seismologists and stratigraphers attribute the widespread destruction caused by this earthquake to the shallow depth of its epicenter. The shock that generates an earthquake occurred at a depth of approximately 18.5 km, according to the Moroccan Institute, and less than 11 km according to the USGS. The shallow depth played a role in the intensity of the earthquake, as deep earthquakes tend to generate more energy and shock waves, resulting in higher Richter scale ratings.

The Curse of Historical Buildings

An important aspect of this recent earthquake is the vulnerability of historical buildings in Morocco. Due to the nature of their construction, with clay walls, these buildings are structurally weak and unable to withstand earthquakes. This poses a significant challenge in protecting these historic structures.

Source: RT

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