An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale hit eastern Tajikistan on Thursday, the US Geological Survey said. The strong earthquake struck around 5.37 am local time at a depth of about 20.5 kilometres.
The epicentre was Gorno-Badakhshan, a semi-autonomous eastern region that borders Afghanistan and China, about 67 kilometres from Murghob town, news agency AFP reported.
About 20 minutes later, the area was hit by a 5.0-magnitude aftershock, followed by a 4.6-magnitude quake.
The towering Pamir Mountains surrounds the territory, which is home to Lake Sarez, among Tajikistan’s largest lakes. The lake was formed as a result of an earthquake in 1911.
A natural dam deep in the Pamir mountains is situated behind the lake and experts have warned of catastrophic consequences if the dam is breached.
Highly prone to natural disasters, Tajikistan has a long history of floods, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and heavy snowfalls.
On February 15, an avalanche in Gorno-Badakhshan left nine dead, while a similar mishap killed another person on a highway near the capital Dushanbe.
Meanwhile, a massive earthquake killed more than 47,000 people and damaged hundreds of thousands of homes in Turkey and Syria.