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Relation of plate tectonics to the Pakistan earthquake:

Complex collision zone


Pakistan's deadly earthquakes owe their birth to the juncture of three colliding tectonic plates:
Indian, Eurasian and Arabian. The Indian and Eurasian plates grind past each other along the
Chaman Fault, triggering destructive temblors.
Earthquakes along the Chaman Fault are more frequent in the north than in the south, Khan said.
Similar to California's San Andreas Fault or Turkey's East Anatolian Fault, in some spots, the
massive plate boundary is not a single fracture. In southern Pakistan, the Chaman Fault splits
into more than one strand, weaving a braid of many smaller faults. The differences between north
and south influence the number of earthquakes. In the past 40 years, only one quake bigger than
magnitude 6.0 has jiggled southern Pakistan within 125 miles (200 km) of yesterday's shaker,
according to the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Seattle. [High & Dry:
Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau]

The Sept. 24 Pakistan earthquake epicenter is plotted on the map with regional seismicity since 1990.
Credit: IRIS
View full size image

Altogether, the strike-slip Chaman Fault spans more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), crossing
through Afghanistan and Pakistan. Strike-slip faults move each side of the fracture mostly
parallel to each other.

In the north, near the town of Chaman where India jabs a knuckle into Pakistan, the fault has
zipped along at 33 millimeters (1.3 inches) every year for the past 38,000 years, according to a
study Khan's team published Sept. 12 in the journal Tectonophysics.
"That is very fast," Khan said. "That tells me there were multiple major earthquakes in the last
38,000 years."

Another source :

Poster of the Southwestern Pakistan


Earthquake of 24 September 2013 Magnitude 7.7
Tectonic Summary
The September 24, 2013 M7.7 earthquake in south-central Pakistan occurred as the result of
oblique-strike-slip type motion at shallow crustal depths. The location and mechanism of the
earthquake are consistent with rupture within the Eurasia plate above the Makran subduction
zone. The event occurred within the transition zone between northward subduction of the Arabia
plate beneath the Eurasia plate and northward collision of the India plate with the Eurasia plate.
The epicenter of the event is 69km north of Awaran, Pakistan, and 270km north of Karachi,
Pakistan (population 11.6 million). On a broad scale, the tectonics of southern and central
Pakistan reflect a complex plate boundary where the India plate slides northward relative to the
Eurasia plate in the east, and the Arabia plate subducts northward beneath the Eurasia plate in the
Makran (western Pakistan). These motions typically result in north-south to northeast-southwest
strike-slip motion at the latitude of the September 24 earthquake that is primarily accommodated
on the Chaman Fault, with the earthquake potentially occurring on one of the southern-most
strands of this fault system. Further, more in-depth studies will be required to identify the precise
fault associated with this event. Although seismically active, this portion of the Eurasia plate
boundary region has not experience large damaging earthquakes in the recent history. In the past
40 years, only one significant event (M6.1), which killed 6, has occurred within 200km of the
September 2013 event, in July of 1990.