Historic Earthquakes

Northern Pakistan
1974 December 28 12:11:43 UTC
Magnitude 6.2

Northern Pakistan
The rugged and isolated Hazara and Swat districts of northern Pakistan were subjected to a magnitude 6.2 earthquake at 12:11 UTC on December 28, 1974. The epicenter was located at 35.1 degrees north and 72.9 degrees east. The earthquake had a shallow focal depth and was followed by numerous aftershocks. An official estimate of the number killed was 5,300 with approximately 17,000 injured. A total of 97,000 were reported affected by the tremor. Most of the destruction was centered around the village of Pattan, located about 100 miles north of the capital city of Islamabad. The village was almost completely destroyed.

Devastation caused by the earthquake
Devastation caused by the earthquake in the village of Pattan. Photograph courtesy Embassy of Pakistan.

The epicental region is characterized by steep-walled narrow canyons and valleys. Most of the population is concentrated along the rivers. Much of the destruction was caused by the numerous landslides and rockfalls which came tumbling down from high above. The main road leading into the area was blocked for about 25 miles by landslides and rockfalls, hampering relief efforts. The government flew in emergency supplies by helicopter until the roads were reopened on January 13.

The earthquake, which was felt intensity V in Kabul, Afghanistan, affected some 1,000 square miles of the Indus Valley region. Several nations contributed money and supplies to aid the inhabitants of the stricken area.

Abridged from Earthquake Information Bulletin, March-April 1975, Volume 7, Number 2.