Earthquake review: May 2022

Published: 06/01/2022


21 damaging earthquakes with the lowest loss statistics since November 2020.

General summary:

Another month with low global earthquake losses: 21 damaging earthquakes have affected 13 countries in May 2022. These earthquakes lead to four casualties and 20 injuries, 2700 damaged buildings and around 2000 displaced people. May 2022 became the month with the lowest earthquake losses since November 2020. However, the exact extent of damage from one of these earthquakes remains unknown due to the lack of reporting.

Damaging earthquakes:

The most destructive earthquake of the month Charmahal va Bakhtiari province, western Iran. A sequence of several smaller and a 4.6 earthquake happened on May 17th. Following these events, 1724 mostly rural buildings were damaged of which 334 need to be completely rebuilt. Nobody was injured and it remains unclear how many people were displaced, presumably around 1000 based on the damage extent.

Less affected buildings but a higher level of destruction followed an earthquake Pakistan on May 6th. It hit the Khuzdar district of Baluchistan and reached Magnitude 5.2 according to USGS. Local sources reported around 330 damaged buildings and more than 1000 people in need of emergency assistance. Luckily, no casualties were reported. Another earthquake of the same size that hit western Pakistan just a few hours earlier did not cause any damage.

No details about the damage came from a 5.0 earthquake in northern Afghanistan on May 23rd. Local sources however reported that two people in the town of Jurm were killed by a house collapse and another person got injured. The focus of the quake was 107 kilometers deep below the Hindu Kush area.

Two other casualties followed a magnitude 5.5 earthquake near the Peruvian capital Lima on May 12th. Eleven people were injured. Most of these injuries were stress related. Only limited damage to 21 buildings has been reported.
Two more damaging earthquakes hit Peru on May 26th and May 27th. The first of them, a deep M7.2 quake, caused damage to 117 buildings, leaving six people displaced but did not lead to any injuries. The second quake of M5.5 affected the city of Ica. Like in the Lima quake earlier this month, eight people were injured in panic-related accidents but only seven buildings suffered minor damage by the earthquake shaking.

Tsunamis:

No earthquake-related tsunami was observed in May 2022.

Landslides:

Five earthquakes in May 2022 have triggered smaller landslides or rockfalls that affected infrastructure. Four of these only affected road network: The M5.5 Lima quake (40 meters of road blocked by rockfall), the M4.7 in Kerman, Iran on May 17th, the M4.8 in Sichuan, China on May 20th and the M7.2 Peru quake which caused blockage of a part of the Panamericana Sur. The fifth quake landslide affected two houses in the Japanese prefecture Ibaraki after a 5.4 earthquake on May 22nd. Evacuation of six people was necessary.

Volcanic Eruption:

No damaging earthquakes were associated with volcanic activity in May 2022. However, intense seismicity occurred this month near Grindavik, Iceland with quakes up to Magnitude 4.8. These events are related to a magmatic intrusion around 5 km beneath the Reykjanes volcanic system. Aviation code was raised to yellow after these quakes and detected surface inflation. However, no earthquake damage or volcanic eruptions have been observed yet although the phase of uncertainty with a chance for stronger earthquakes remains.

Induced earthquakes:

One of the strongest earthquakes in years (M4.5) hit the village Sauzal Bonito in southern Argentina on May 9th . Seismic activity there, which is ongoing for a couple of years now, is attributed to Hydraulic Fracturing operations at a nearby gas field. This new quake led to damage at some buildings.

Other earthquakes:

No other noteworthy earthquake activity took place in May 2022.

Recent Reports

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21 damaging earthquakes with the lowest loss statistics since November 2020.

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