Link to USGS home page.
Open-File Report 2005–1264
  About USGS /  Science Topics /  Maps, Products & Publications /  Education / FAQ
Prepared under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development

Seismotectonic Map of Afghanistan, with Annotated Bibliography

By Russell L. Wheeler, Charles G. Bufe, Margo L. Johnson, and Richard L. Dart

This report is USGS Afghanistan Project Product No. 011
thumbnail image of figure 1 in report: plate tectonics of Afghanistan

A seismotectonic map shows geologic, seismological, and other information that is pertinent to seismic hazards but previously was scattered among many sources. Afghanistan is part of the Eurasian plate. Afghan seismicity is driven by the relative northward movements of the Arabian plate past western Afghanistan at 33 mm/yr and of the Indian plate past eastern Afghanistan at 39 mm/yr or faster as both plates subduct under Eurasia. Afghanistan is laced with faults. Known faults large enough to have been mapped at a scale of 1:500,000 are least abundant in the stable North Afghan platform, more abundant in the accreted terranes of southern Afghanistan, and most likely to slip rapidly and generate earthquakes in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan in the broad transpressional plate boundary with the Indian plate. Crustal earthquakes are most abundant in and around northeastern Afghanistan as a result of the northward subduction of the Indian plate. Crustal earthquakes are somewhat less abundant in much of the transpressional plate boundary with India. Central and western Afghanistan are least seismically active. Beneath the Hindu Kush of northeastern Afghanistan and the Pamirs of adjacent Tajikistan, numerous mantle earthquakes occur within a steeply dipping, northeast-trending, tabular zone that is 700 km long and extends nearly to 300 km depth. Except for the Chaman fault that forms part of the western edge of the transpressional plate boundary in Pakistan and Afghanistan, published evidence for or against the activity of individual Afghan faults is sparse.

Version 1.0

Posted September 2005

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format. The latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software is required to view it. If you wish to download the latest version of Acrobat Reader free of charge, click here.

For viewing and printing upon download.
(This version of the report is accessible as defined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Amendments of 1998.) logo