Poster of the Pakistan Earthquake of 8 October 2005 - Magnitude 7.6
Earthquakes and active faults in northern Pakistan and adjacent parts of India and Afghanistan are the direct result of the Indian subcontinent moving northward at a rate of about 40 mm/yr (1.6 inches/yr) and colliding with the Eurasian continent. This collision is causing uplift that produces the highest mountain peaks in the world including the Himalayan, the Karakoram, the Pamir and the Hindu Kush ranges. As the Indian plate moves northward, it is being subducted or pushed beneath the Eurasian plate. Much of the compressional motion between these two colliding plates has been and continues to be accommodated by slip on a suite of major thrust faults that are at the Earths surface in the foothills of the mountains and dip northward beneath the ranges. These include the Main Frontal thrust, the Main Central thrust, the Main boundary thrust, and the Main Mantle thrust. These thrust faults have a sinuous trace as they arc across the foothills in northern India and into northern Pakistan. In detail, the modern active faults are actually a system of faults comprised of a number of individual fault traces. In the rugged mountainous terrain, it is difficult to identify and map all of the individual thrust faults, but the overall tectonic style of the modern deformation is clear in the area of the earthquake; north- and northeast-directed compression is producing thrust faulting. Near the city of Muzaffarabad, about 10 km southwest of the earthquake epicenter, active thrust faults that strike northwest-southeast have deformed and warped Pleistocene alluvial-fan surfaces into anticlinal ridges. The strike and dip direction of these thrust faults is compatible with the style of faulting indicated by the focal mechanism from the nearby M 7.6 earthquake.
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