Thekilled thousands of people and parts of Marrakech and communities south of the major city. The powerful quake sent people throughout the country rushing into the streets as buildings crumbled, creating an .
Morocco earthquake death toll
At least 2,900 people died from the earthquake, Morocco's Interior Ministry said Tuesday. Over 5,500 were injured.
How strong was the earthquake in Morocco?
The earthquake was a magnitude 6.8, which is rare for western Morocco, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Twenty minutes after the main earthquake, a magnitude 4.9 aftershock hit the region.
In 1960, between 12,000 and 15,000 people were killed when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck western Morocco's coastal region. No earthquakes of magnitude 6 or larger have been recorded within 300 miles of Friday's quake, according to the agency, which has records for the area dating back to 1900.
In the northern part of the country, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck in 2016. In 2004, a magnitude 6.4 quake hit the region.
Morocco earthquake map
Morocco is located in northwestern Africa with coastlines along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Across the Strait of Gibraltar to the north are Spain and the British colony of Gibraltar. To Morocco's east is the country of Algeria.
Damage from the earthquake stretched from the city of Marrakech south to villages in the Atlas Mountains, where the epicenter of the quake was located.
Where was the earthquake in Morocco?
The earthquake struck near the town of Oukaïmedene in the Atlas Mountains, a rural area about 50 miles southwest of Marrakech, according to the USGS.
The quake had a depth of about 16 miles, which the agency considers to be relatively shallow. Shaking was reported throughout the country as well as in Algeria, Portugal and Spain.
When did the Morocco earthquake happen?
The earthquake struck at 11:11 p.m. local time on Friday, according to the USGS. The country is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, so the quake hit at 6:11 p.m. EDT.
The quake struck at a time when most families and children would have been home in bed, the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, noted.
What caused the Morocco earthquake?
According to the USGS, the earthquake was the result of oblique reverse faulting. As Jesús Galindo-Zaldivar, a professor of geodynamics at Universidad de Granada, told The Conversation, the phenomenon happens when tectonic plates collide, causing stress to build on a fault line as the Earth's crust thickens. When rocks abruptly shift to release the stress, it can cause an earthquake.
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