More than 2,000 people have been killed as Morocco’s deadliest earthquake in decades destroyed houses and roads in the tourist city of Marrakesh.
The strong tremors were also felt in the coastal cities of Rabat, Casablanca and Essaouira, where it caused widespread damage and sent terrified residents and tourists scrambling to safety in the middle of the night on Friday.
In the mountain village of Tafeghaghte, which was near the quake’s epicentre, there were no buildings left standing while the traditional clay bricks used by the region’s Berber inhabitants proved no match for the rare quake.
But why was the earthquake so devastating and the reason why Morocco was ill-prepared for a tremor like the latest one. News18 explains.
Why Was the Earthquake Devastating
The epicentre of the 6.8-magnitude quake was in a mountainous area 72 kilometres southwest of the tourist city of Marrakesh, the US Geological Survey reported.
The epicentre was roughly 18.5 km below the Earth’s surface, according to USGS, while Morocco’s own seismic agency pegged the depth at 11 km.
It was a shallow earthquake, which according to experts, are more dangerous as the closer you get to the surface, the greater the effect of the rupture.
According to reports, in case of deeper earthquakes, the seismic waves have to travel a longer distance before reaching to the surface. During this delay the tremors lose energy to the surroundings. While in case of shallow quakes, the seismic waves are able to bring more energy to the surface and cause more damage.
Eyewitnesses said that the earthquake was strong and for a longer period.