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M6.1 Nahrin Earthquake, 2002


25 March 2002


SSE of Khvajeh Jeyran, Baghlan


14:56:37 UTC (19:26:37 AT)


36.008 N (ISC)


69.269 E (ISC)


33.0 kms (ISC)


Mw 6.1 (HRV), 6.0 (NEIC)

Additional Info


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A strong earthquake struck town of Nahrin in Badakhshan, Afghanistan, on 3 March 2002 at 16:38 PM local time, killing nearly 1,200 people and resulting in damage to property the province of Baghlan, Afghanistan. It had a magnitude of Mw=6.1 and was followed by an active aftershock sequence.

The earthquake was centred 3.6 kilometres SSE of Khvajeh Jeyran (Baghlan), Afghanistan,
14.5 kilometres ESE of Nahrin (Baghlan), Afghanistan,
50.1 kilometres E of Baghlan (Baghlan), Afghanistan,
51.5 kilometres ENE of Pol-e Khomri (Baghlan), Afghanistan
88.1 kilometres SSE of Kondoz (Kondoz), Afghanistan,

115 kilometres ESE of Samangan (Samangan), Afghanistan,
160 kilometres N of Kabul International Airport, Kabul (Kabul), Afghanistan
210 kilometres ESE of Mazar-e Sharif (Balkh), Afghanistan,
305 kilometres NW of Peshawar (N.W.F.P.), Pakistan.

The number of fatalities in this earthquake was uncertain due to political situation in Afghanistan at the time of the earthquake. However, United Nations figures estimate approximately 1,200 fatalities in the Nahrin region with at least 100 deaths in the town of Nahrin itself. Another 7,000 people were injured and more than 20,000 were rendered homeless. Many of the injured were flown out by helicopter to the neighbouring towns of Baghlan and Pol-e Khomri. 

The earthquake caused extensive damage to the town of Nahrin. The hardest hit was the old town, much of which was levelled in the quake. A study by Yeats & Madden (2003) identified over 40 locations in the Nahrin valley where the observed intensity reached VII on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale including the town of Nahrin. Tremors from the main earthquake were felt over a wide area of eastern Afghanistan, including at Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif, where it was strong. It was also felt at Islamabad and Peshawar in northern Pakistan and at Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Several aftershocks rocked the area, and the strongest, a magnitude Mw=5.6 (NEIC; HRV) on 27 March at 13:22 local time caused further landslides and rock falls in the surrounding mountains. It was felt strongly at Nahrin causing considerable panic and anxiety among survivors. Tremors were also felt as far as Islamabad and Peshawar in northern Pakistan and at Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Another hazard that rescuers and survivors were faced with were the numerous landmines laid in the area by opposing factions during the civil war in Afghanistan. According to the HALO trust, the town of Nahrin had stood on the frontline the Northern Alliance and the Taliban, due to which the former had laid hundreds of antitank mines on the roads leading into the town.

01) International Seismological Centre (ISC), Berkshire.
02) National Earthquake Information Centre (NEIC), Golden, USA.
Harvard Centroid Moment Tensor Solution (HRV), Harvard, USA.
04) Macroseismic information has been compiled by the ASC from reports by local media and local NGO personnel.
05) Yeats, R.B., and C. Madden, "Damage from the Nahrin, Afghanistan earthquake of 25 March 2002", SRL, Vol. 73, No. 3, 2002..

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