Thousands Dead as Powerful Earthquake Strikes Morocco

Sep 11, 2023

Earthquake Energy and Frequency

More than 2,100 people were killed and at least 2,400 injured in a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck Morocco late Friday night. Relief workers searched through the weekend to find survivors in the northwest African nation. But the mountainous terrain at the quake’s epicenter has made progress slow.

The earthquake knocked buildings down and sent boulders tumbling down the cliffsides of the High Atlas Mountains near the historic city of Marrakech. The United Nations estimates nearly 300,000 people have been affected. Many of the region’s remote villages were cut off from aid. That's because roads have become blocked. Electricity and cell phone service were also out in some areas.

In Marrakech, people looked for food and water. They searched for the basics even as they worried that buildings might still collapse.

"We're still waiting for tents. We haven't had anything yet," a local worker told Reuters. "I had a little food offered by one man but that's all since the earthquake. You can't see a single shop open."

Pledges of aid quickly poured in from global leaders. They included those meeting at the G20 summit in India. The US and Spain sent search and rescue teams. French President Macron promised support “if Morocco decides it is useful.”

Also offering aid was Turkey, which was the site of a major earthquake in February. Morocco’s longtime rival Algeria offered to help as well. Morocco’s eastern neighbor opened its airspace to aid movement in and out of the country. That's the first time Algeria has allowed flights into or out of Morocco through its airspace since 2021.

Reflect: Why is it important for local communities and global communities to come together and aid those in need when natural disasters strike?

According to the infographic, if an earthquake registers between a 6.0 - 7.0 magnitude, which event releases similar energy? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. Hiroshima atomic bomb
b. Mount St. Helena eruptions
c. Largest nuclear bomb test
d. Average tornado
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