Morocco M6.8 Earthquake Report

A massive earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck Morocco on September 8, 2023, leading to widespread devastation, a tragic loss of life, and the displacement of numerous residents. This historic earthquake occurred at 23:11 local time, followed by a 4.9 magnitude aftershock just 19 minutes later. The impact of this calamity has been felt not only in Marrakesh but also in several areas to the south, including the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua, and Taroudant.

The earthquake's epicenter was located in a remote region within the High Atlas Mountains, raising concerns about the ability of simple buildings in nearby mountain villages to withstand the earthquake's powerful forces. Given the remoteness of the area, it may take some time to fully assess the extent of casualties caused by this devastating event.

The details of the earthquake are as follows:

  • Time: 2023-09-08 at 22:11:01 UTC
              2023-09-08 at 23:11:01 Africa/Casablanca
  • Location: 31.1095° LAT, -8.4404° LON
  • Magnitude: M6.8
  • Depth: 18 km (11.18 mi)
  • Provider: USGS

Location of M6.5 Morocco earthquakePicture 1: Location of M6.8 Morocco earthquake.

Quantectum has issued a red alert for Morocco, which is in effect until the conclusion of September 2023, and further updates may follow as we continue to closely monitor the situation. Tectonic forces, characterized by significant shear tractions, are anticipated to persist at elevated levels until September 14, 2023, after which they are projected to decrease temporarily. However, it is important to note that a subsequent surge in tectonic activity is anticipated at the close of September 2023. Throughout these fluctuations, it is crucial to be prepared for additional moderate to strong aftershocks. Our resolution models show that the earthquake occurred due to local instability in the tectonic zone, as shown in the image below.

Local instability in the tectonic zone in Morocco regionPicture 2: Local instability of M6.8 Morocco earthquake.

It also occurred due to the strong tectonic waves currently passing nearby and have triggered strong events worldwide in the past few days (e.g., the M6.8 event in the Kermadec region yesterday, as shown in the image below).

Tectonic waves that contributed to the Morocco earthquakePicture 3: Global tectonic waves that caused M6.8 Morocco earthquake.

The map displayed below provides an initial estimation of Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) within the earthquake-affected region. PGA is the maximum ground acceleration during and earthquake and is quantified as a percentage of the acceleration due to gravity (g), with the maximum value clearly indicated in the accompanying figure. In this representation, regions depicted in shades of red and purple indicate elevated PGA values, signifying significant ground motion, whereas areas shaded in blue and green denote lower PGA values, reflecting comparatively milder ground motion during the earthquake event.

Please note that this preliminary model of PGA distribution is subject to further refinement and updates as additional data and analyses become available, ensuring a more comprehensive understanding of ground motion characteristics in the area.

Peak ground acceleration of earthquake in MoroccoPicture 4: Ground peak acceleration for M6.8 Morocco earthquake.

Moreover, Quantectum is actively engaged in conducting a meticulous and high-precision assessment of the tectonic zone instabilities within Morocco. The occurrence of the M6.8 earthquake was attributed to a combination of time-synchronization issues and the presence of a potent tectonic wave in the affected region. This scenario aligned with a yellow alert status, signifying a level 2 out of 3 on the alert scale.

Time-synchronisation of earthquake

Picture 5: Tectonic zone instabilities in Morocco region.

Furthermore, our ongoing efforts are dedicated to comprehensively understanding the dynamics of these tectonic zones in Morocco to enhance our preparedness and response strategies for future seismic events. The Molchan test analysis of the high precision analysis of Time-synchronizations shows a high area skill score (af = 0.896), which means that Time-synchronizations can be very effectively used to issue alerts.

Molchan test analysis for earthquake forecastsPicture 6: Time-synchronizations in Morocco region.

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