Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Major earthquake strikes in Pakistan

An earthquake by way of a magnitude of 7.2 struck Wednesday morning in a remote area of southwestern Pakistan, but initial reports revealed no major damage.

The earthquake occurred at 1:23 a.m. (3:23 p.m. Tuesday ET) at a depth of 84 kilometers (52 miles), the U.S. geographical Survey said. It was centered 45 kilometers (30 miles) west of Dalbandin, and 1,035 kilometers (640 miles) west-southwest of Islamabad, the USGS assumed on its website.

Arif Mahmood, director of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, put the epicenter at 320 kilometers (about 200 miles) southwest of Quetta near Kharan, Baluchistan, and said it had been felt in Punjab, Sind, and Baluchistan provinces in Pakistan, also as parts of Iran and India.

Residents near the epicenter in the districts of Kalat, Dalbadin and Kharan told CNN a number of mud-walled homes were damaged but no one was hurt.

An official at Quetta's Civil Hospital said a women cardiac patient suffered a critical heart attack during the earthquake. He said two people raced to the hospital but they proved not to have been injured, just scared.
 Malik Muhammad Iqbal, the police chief of Baluchistan region, said he was conscious of no injuries.
"Things in the headquarters started shaking and books all fell off the desks," Baluchistan Police Inspector Sultan Mahmood told CNN in a telephone interview. "We left the headquarters running hooked on the streets -- scared for our lives."

In Karachi, Faros Lehar, director general police, said he had heard no instant reports of casualties or building damage.

USGS initially reported the quake at 7.4. Quakes of 7.0 to 7.9 are off the record as major; anything over 8.0 is classified as great.

In Dubai, about 500 miles southwest of the epicenter, a reporter said he felt a moderate quaking that lasted for about 30 seconds.

Usman Zahid, a night manager at Serina Hotel in Quetta, Pakistan, feels the quake. He said it was "frightening" and predictable that it lasted about 20 seconds. It left "glasses are broken down in the kitchen" and made a chandelier swing, but caused no major damage, he said.

People with Twitter accounts in New Delhi, Jaipur and Dehradun -- all in India -- felt the earth quake. "It's not rare for this region to have earthquakes," said Kurt Frankel of the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is somewhere two tectonic plates come together, he said.


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