The devastating 2022 M6.2 Afghanistan earthquake: Challenges, processes, and implications

S.‐K. Kufner, L. Bie, Y. Gao, M. Lindner, H. Waizy, N. Kakar, A. Rietbrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


On June 21st, a Mw6.2 earthquake struck the Afghan-Pakistan-border-region, situated within the India-Asia collision. Thousand thirty-nine deaths were reported, making the earthquake the deadliest of 2022. We investigate the event's rupture processes by combining seismological and geodetic observations, aiming to understand what made it that fatal. Our Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar-constrained slip-model and regional moment-tensor inversion, confirmed through field observations, reveal a sinistral rupture with maximum slip of 1.8 m at 5 km depth on a N20°E striking, sub-vertical fault. We suggest that not only external factors (event-time, building stock) but fault-specific factors made the event excessively destructive. Surface rupture was favored by the rock foliation, coinciding with the fault strike. The distribution of Peak-Ground-Velocity was governed by the sub-vertical fault. Maximum slip was large compared to other events globally and might have resulted in peak-frequencies coinciding with resonance-frequencies of the local buildings and demonstrates the devastating impact of moderate-size earthquakes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022GL102176
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
Early online date6 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2023

Cite this