Very strong earthquake in Tajikistan

Tajikistan picture from the epicenter area showing the kind of terrain where the earthquake occurred. - Image courtesy Panoramio and Alexander Naumov (

FINAL UPDATE 25/01 - 11:03 UTC : We have the pleasure to report that this earthquake left NO damage or injuries.

UPDATE 10:47 UTC : Intermediate status - Our Tajikistan sources have so far NO reports of any damage or injuries.

UPDATE 08:00 UTC : So far we have NO news yet from the greater epicenter area. Testimonies from this earthquake are at least 350 km away from the epicenter, a distance which is not relevant for a final safe status.

UPDATE 07:28 UTC : There were no immediate reports of damages!
This is the most used sentence in earthquake reporting worldwide. In most cases this quote is true but completely useless.
Why ?
Because the epicenter is often far away from towns and as the communication is regularly down, it can take hours and hours before rescue services can reach the epicenter area or restored communications can confirm the safe status.
Of course also hopes that the outcome of EVERY EARTHQUAKE will be NO damage and NO injuries, but the use of this quote has been proved regularly to be very wrong.   We avoid it as much as possible.

UPDATE 07:28 UTC : Some news sites have published a 6.1 earthquake in Pakistan. This is NOT TRUE! People in Pakistan felt a light shaking of an earthquake, but the epicenter was located in Tajikistan (the earthquake of this article).
We are publishing this remark as tweets are continue to appear about this so called 6.1 Pakistan earthquake.

UPDATE 05:50 UTC : If communications would have been disturbed, it will take a very long time before we know if there will be no damage or injuries as a result of this earthquake.

UPDATE 05:47 UTC : This earthquake will have been felt in the following countries : Tajikistan (of course), China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan

UPDATE 05:39 UTC : The village only a couple of km from the epicenter is Kudara.

UPDATE 05:35 UTC : The earthquake was felt as far as Islamabad in Pakistan reports Xinhua.  Strong earthquakes with a hypocenter at an intermediate depth are felt sometimes up to 1,000 km away from the epicenter, although this will be only felt as a very weak shaking.

UPDATE 05:16 UTC : The earthquake area is incredibly beautiful but can be at the same time very cruel.
Take a look at this beautiful picture at only 30 km from the epicenter.

UPDATE 05:11 UTC : Temperature in the epicenter is less than -10 °C (5 °F). Extremely cold conditions if an earthquake would damage houses.

A very strong earthquake at an intermediate depth occurred in a mountainous area in Tajikistan at 07:45 AM local time. The outcome of this earthquake will be probably positive because of the depth of 88 km.
The major uncertainty in this kind of earthquakes is the mountainous terrain at the epicenter area together with the non-resistant houses.
Even with a limited shaking (a V to VI MMI is expected in the greater epicenter area), landslides are always a possibility.
Felt reports (II to IV MMI values) came in from hundreds of km from the epicenter (China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan). Normally the felt experiences will be at most a little higher in the epicenter area.
Theoretical MMI models of USGS are predicting a V shaking (moderate shaking) experience for 45,000 people.
Also on the positive side of what to expect is that most of the people will be outside at that time of the day.
GDACS published a GREEN earthquake alert for this earthquake = very limited chance on damage and/or injuries
11 people are living within a radius of 5 km around the epicenter
209 people are living within a radius of 10 km around the epicenter
634 people are living within a radius of 20 km around the epicenter
4,977 people are living within a radius of 50 km around the epicenter
44,717 people are living within a radius of 100 km around the epicenter

Earthquakes from this magnitude and at this depth are fairly common in the area, which does not mean that people are not vulnerable anymore.
6.1 is a major magnitude containing a huge damage potential in these areas of the world.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : M 6.1
Monday, January 24, 2011 at 07:45:29 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 89.6 km satellite map + I Did Feel It form
Geo-location(s) :
95 km (60 miles) SW of Karakul, Tajikistan
150 km (90 miles) NE of Khorugh, Tajikistan
150 km (95 miles) SSW of Sary-Tash, Kyrgyzstan
350 km (215 miles) E of DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (Cipital)

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place

USGS Shaking map

USGS historic earthquakes map

USGS impact on population map

EMSC Seismic hazard map
LIVE SEISMOGRAM (nearest Seismograph station)
GDACS Green Earthquake Alert (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System)

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