A series of earthquakes has hit a remote region of Tajikistan bordering China, with the strongest temblor measured at magnitude 6.8, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The quake struck at about 5:37am (00:37 GMT) on Thursday about 65km (40 miles) west of Murghob near the border with China’s Xinjiang province, USGS and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.
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Murghob is the district capital with a population of a few thousand in the Pamir Mountains. No casualties were immediately reported.
The area is sparsely populated but is home to the Sarez Lake which could potentially flood vast areas in several countries if disrupted.
Notable quake, preliminary info: M 6.8 – 67 km W of Murghob, Tajikistan https://t.co/41zyIIbysN
— USGS Earthquakes (@USGS_Quakes) February 23, 2023
The lake was formed by a 1911 earthquake that caused a landslide that dammed the Murghab River, according to USGS. The area has experienced at least 18 earthquakes of a magnitude 6.5 or larger over the last century.
In 2015, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck 105km (65 miles) west of Murghob, killing two and destroying hundreds of homes.
During the most recent earthquakes, tremors were felt in capital Dushanbe about 700km (435 miles) to the west.
The quake was strongly felt across the border in some areas of Kashgar prefecture and Kizilsu Kyrgyz autonomous prefecture in Xinjiang, but no casualties or damage has been reported so far, state media CCTV said, citing local information officers.
The China Earthquake Networks Center said it was a magnitude 7.2 quake, with the epicentre 10km (6 miles) deep.
Measurements by different agencies often differ.