Magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits Morocco, 296 dead

An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on the Richter scale hit central Morocco, killing 296 people and forcing a large number to spend the night in the streets on Friday, media reports said.

A magnitude 6.8 Richter Scale earthquake hits Morocco. Photo Courtesy: X video grab

The September 8, 2023, 6.8 M earthquake near Oukaïmedene, Morocco, occurred due to oblique-reverse faulting at shallow depth within the Moroccan High Atlas Mountain range, roughly 75 km southeast of Marrakech, according to the US Geological Survey website.

This earthquake occurred within the Africa Plate, approximately 550 km south of the plate boundary between the Africa and Eurasia plates. At the location of this earthquake, the African plate moves approximately 24 mm/year WSW relative to the Eurasia plate, read the website.

USGS said earthquakes of this size in the region are uncommon but not unexpected.

"Since 1900, there have been no earthquakes M6 and larger within 500 km of this earthquake, and only 9 M5 and larger earthquakes," read the USGS website.

According to local reports, Marrakech remained the most affected city.

The earthquake already affected Marrakech and the surrounding areas, with many videos depicting damage to homes and property, the Morocco World News reported.

Several videos (though unverified) of the earthquake have gone viral on the social media platform X.

In the videos, people were seen running out of their residences.