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Earthquake Of 6.8 Magnitude Strikes Tajikistan Near China Border

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A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Tajikistan on Thursday (February 23), the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake struck at 5:37 a.m. local time (0037 GMT) and was at a depth of 20.5 kilometers (12.7 miles). The USGS added that earthquakes could leave “small” or no populations vulnerable to landslides. Reuters reported that the quake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale.

The epicenter of the earthquake appears to be in Gorno-Badakhshan. It is a semi-autonomous region bordering Afghanistan and China. It is about 67 kilometers from Murghob, a small hill town. 

Twenty minutes after the initial quake, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck, followed by a magnitude 4.6 earthquake. The sparsely populated region is surrounded by the towering Pamir Mountains and is home to Lake Sarez.

There is a natural dam deep in the Pamir Mountains behind Sarez Lake, and experts have warned that the consequences could be catastrophic if the dam breaks. Tajikistan and the rest of Central Asia are highly prone to natural disasters. It has a long history of earthquakes, floods, landslides, and similar calamities. 

Earlier this month, nine people died in an avalanche in Gorno-Badakhshan on February 15, while another was killed on a highway near the capital.

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