A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Tajikistan on Thursday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). The earthquake occurred at approximately 5:37 AM local time (0037 GMT) at a depth of approximately 20.5 kilometres (12.7 miles).
USGS estimates that “little or no” population will be exposed to landslides from earthquakes.
Its epicentre appears to be in Gorno-Badakhshan, a semi-autonomous region in the east bordering Afghanistan and China, about 67 kilometres from the small mountain town of Murgob.
A magnitude 5.0 aftershock occurred approximately 20 minutes after the first tremor, followed by a magnitude 4.6 tremor.
Surrounded by the towering Pamir Plateau, this sparsely populated region is home to Lake Sales.
Behind Lake Sarez lies a natural dam deep in the Pamir Mountains, and experts warn of catastrophic consequences should the dam fail.
Tajikistan, like the rest of Central Asia, is highly prone to natural disasters and has a long history of floods, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and heavy snowfalls.
Earlier this month, an avalanche killed nine people in Gorno He Badakhshan on February 15, and one person died in an avalanche on a highway near the capital Dushanbe on the same day.