The 26 October 2015 Afghanistan Earthquake

Image c. USGS

Image c. USGS

At 09:09 (GMT) on Monday 26 October a magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit the north-eastern area of Afghanistan near the Tajikistan and Pakistani border. It occurred as the result of reverse faulting approximately 210 km below the Hindu Kush Range of mountains in Afghanistan.

The earthquake occurred in the broader tectonic setting of the Indian subcontinent moving northwards and colliding with Eurasia at a velocity of 37mm/yr. Active faults and the resultant earthquakes in this region, such as the recent earthquake in Nepal, are the direct result of the convergence of the India and Eurasia plates. This convergence has also given rise to the Himalayan, Karakoram, Pakir and Hindu Kush ranges.

Seven other M7 or greater earthquakes have occurred within 250km of this event over the preceding century, the most recent being a M 7.4 just 20km away.

Further information

Himalaya Tectonics

A number of papers relating to Himalaya tectonics are available for free download from our Lyell Collection.

As part of our 2014 conference on Sustainable Resource Development in the Himalaya, Tim Wright of the University of Leeds gave a lecture on ‘Active Deformation and Seismic Hazard in the India-Asia collision zone’ which includes some background on the tectonics of this region. View the slides from his presentation.

For more general information about earthquakes, visit

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