On Friday evening, Morocco experienced a significant earthquake that resulted in structural damage to buildings in prominent urban centers.
Earthquake Strikes Morocco
The seismic event prompted a widespread state of alarm, causing residents and tourists alike to rush into the streets and narrow alleys in cities spanning from the nation’s capital, Rabat, to the popular tourist hotspot of Marrakech.
As of early Saturday, there has been no immediate information regarding injuries or fatalities resulting from the earthquake.
Information Regarding Injuries
Government authorities have refrained from providing any statements regarding the magnitude of the earthquake’s effects.
Citizens of Morocco shared videos depicting the aftermath of the earthquake, revealing certain structures reduced to debris and dust. Additionally, segments of the renowned red walls encircling the historic old city of Marrakech sustained damage.
Tourists and locals alike recorded videos capturing the evacuation of individuals from restaurants in the city, all while vibrant club music continued to play in the background.
Information about the extent of damage and potential casualties typically requires some time to emerge following earthquakes, especially when they occur during the nighttime hours.
U.S. Geological Survey
Instead of seeking refuge within solid structures, both adults and children opted to remain outdoors, concerned about the possibility of aftershocks and subsequent tremors that could induce swaying in their residences.
U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake initially registered a preliminary magnitude of 6.8, occurring precisely at 11:11 p.m. (2211 GMT) and lasting for several seconds.
Morocco’s National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network registered the earthquake with a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale. Additionally, the U.S. agency reported a magnitude-4.9 aftershock occurring 19 minutes later.
Discrepancies in initial measurements are not unusual, but both readings represent one of the most powerful earthquakes Morocco has experienced in years.
While seismic events are infrequent in North Africa, it’s worth noting that a significant magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck close to Agadir in 1960, resulting in a tragic loss of thousands of lives.
Friday’s seismic activity originated from the epicenter, situated high in the Atlas Mountains, approximately 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) south of Marrakech. This location is also in close proximity to Toubkal, which happens to be the tallest peak in North Africa, and Oukaimeden, a well-known ski resort in Morocco.
Official Information Concerning
US Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter was located 18 kilometers (11 miles) beneath the Earth’s surface, whereas Morocco’s seismic agency reported it to be at a depth of 8 kilometers (5 miles).
In addition to the details regarding the earthquake’s magnitude, as of early Saturday, there was a noticeable absence of any official information concerning casualties or the extent of damages.
Moroccan authorities, who traditionally utilize the MAP (Morocco’s official news agency) as their communication channel for important matters, had not issued any statements on the subject.
World leaders extended their offers of aid and condolences, with support pouring in from countries across Europe, a Group of 20 summit in India, and nations in the Middle East and beyond.
Turkey’s president, who had faced a massive earthquake earlier in the year resulting in significant casualties, was among those proposing assistance.
France and Germany, both home to sizable populations with Moroccan origins, also expressed their willingness to help, and leaders from Ukraine and Russia offered their support to Morocco.
It’s important to note that the Moroccan government has not officially requested external assistance, a necessary step for foreign rescue teams to be deployed.
The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the earthquake’s magnitude as 6.8 when it struck at 11:11 p.m. (2211 GMT), causing several seconds of shaking. The agency also noted a magnitude-4.9 aftershock occurring 19 minutes later.
Al Haouz Province
The epicenter of the Friday tremor was located near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province, approximately 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) south of Marrakech. Al Haouz is renowned for its picturesque villages and valleys nestled within the High Atlas region, featuring villages built into the sides of mountains.
While the USGS recorded the epicenter as being 18 kilometers (11 miles) beneath the Earth’s surface, Morocco’s seismic agency reported it at a depth of 11 kilometers (7 miles). It’s worth noting that shallow earthquakes like these are generally considered more hazardous.