Powerful earthquakes that have hit Morocco

The September 8 earthquake is Morocco’s deadliest quake in more than 60 years.

(Al Jazeera)

On September 8, 2023, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit Morocco’s Atlas Mountains region.

The earthquake’s epicentre was located in Al-Haouz province in the High Atlas of the mountains – an area usually not associated with earthquakes – about 75km (44 miles) from Marrakesh, Morocco’s fourth largest city.

The earthquake is the country’s deadliest in more than 60 years, killing at least 2,497 people and leaving at least 2,476 injured.

Powerful earthquakes rare

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), earthquakes of this intensity are rare in the region with no recorded instances of a magnitude of 6.8 or higher having been detected within 300km (186 miles) of Friday’s epicentre.

Over the past 48 hours, at least two dozen aftershocks have rattled the region with the most powerful being of magnitude 4.9.

“There’s not been very many earthquakes in that part of Morocco. Most occur in the area much farther north on the Mediterranean coast near the tectonic plate,” Chris Elders, a structural geologist from Australia’s Curtin University, told Al Jazeera.

Morocco’s deadliest recorded earthquake was in 1960 in Agadir. Despite its relatively low magnitude of 5.8, the quake claimed the lives of a third of the city’s residents, resulting in an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 deaths and leaving 35,000 people homeless.

The graphic below provides a brief overview of some of the strongest earthquakes in and around Morocco in recent history:


Source: Al Jazeera