Major Quake Shakes Pakistan

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 24 2013 9:21 AM

Major Quake Shakes Pakistan

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The earthquake's epicenter mapped on Google

A major earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday in the country's largest but also least populated province. Here's the Associated Press with the details:

The magnitude 7.7 quake hit near the town of Khuzdar in Baluchistan province, said Pakistan's chief meteorologist, Mohammed Riaz. The U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo. reported the quake as magnitude 7.8.
The quake struck in a remote area of Baluchistan with little population, said the head of Pakistan's Earthquake Center, Zahid Rafi. ... The quake was felt in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, along the Arabian Sea. People in the city's tall office buildings rushed into the streets following the tremor, and Pakistani television showed images of lights swaying as the earth moved.
TV footage showed residents in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, coming out of their homes and offices in a panic. One man told Pakistan's Dunya television channel that he was sitting in his office when the building started shaking.
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There was no immediate word on damage or casualties. [Update 11:20 a.m.: the early tally stands at 39, but is likely to rise.] Given Pakistan's heavy population density and shaky infrastructure, some people are fearing the worst, although in reality it's too early to say for certain just how bad things might be. For a rough comparison, consider two 7.1-magnitude quakes from 2010: one, in New Zealand, killed no one; the other, in China, killed more than 400. Or take two recent quakes in Pakistan: a 7.2-magnitude quake in southwestern Pakistan in 2011 that left three dead; and a 6.4-magnitude quake near the Afghan border that resulted in 2008 that killed 166.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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