Earthquake Review: October 2022

Published: 11/01/2022

Two destructive earthquakes caused 99% of all October losses.

General summary:

Two major earthquakes drew the damage statistics of the month: A 5.4 in Iran and a 6.5 in Philippines lead to 1400 injuries and 18,000 damaged buildings which ended up as around 99% of all October losses. The remaining 1 percent is the sum of 24 other damaging quakes in 17 other countries, including the only fatal event.

Damaging earthquakes:

A moderate earthquake near the Iranian city of Khoy has caused widespread panic and severe damage on October 5th. Although “only” Magnitude 5.4, more than 5000 buildings in Khoy and nearby villages suffered damage with total reconstruction needed for 1100 units. Besides the property losses, 1277 people were injured, most of them while fleeing from their homes and only a few by falling debris. No fatalities were reported, making it the non-fatal earthquake with the highest number of injuries on record.

In July, a Magnitude 7 earthquake hit the Philippine Island Luzon, leaving 11 fatalities and more than 50,000 damaged homes across the island. The strongest aftershock happened on October 25th, reaching Magnitude 6.5 and causing additional destruction, especially in Abra region. More than 13,500 buildings were damaged, according to the latest official assessment and 139 people suffered injuries. Landslides and power outages were also reported.

The only fatal earthquake of the month hit the Peruvian region Piura on October 5th. Despite high magnitude 6.1 and proximity to the city of Sullana, damage was limited. 60 damaged structures were reported from nearby provinces, three people were injured and one person died from panic-related heart problems.

Tsunamis:

No earthquake-related Tsunami was recorded in October 2022.

Volcanic Eruption:

Elevated activity at Mauna Loa volcano, Hawaii, has triggered several smaller earthquake swarms and ground deformation around the mountain. As an indirect consequence of this deformation, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake was triggered down at the southern slope on October 14th, resulting in some damage and rockfalls in and near the town of Pahala. However, this event didn’t indicate any further increasing volcanic activity.

Over the past two years, a long-lasting sequence of moderate shallow seismicity has shaken parts of the Mexican state Michoacan. Focus of the seismicity is the southern edge of the huge Michoacan-Guanajuato volcanic field. A magmatic intrusion was assumed as the cause of the seismicity without leading to any volcanic activity. Renewed earthquakes started on October 20th, leading to some damage. However, at this point the exact origin of these quakes in unclear. New magmatic processes cannot be ruled out due to the proximity to previous earthquake swarms.

Landslides:

No further earthquake-related landsliding was reported.

Induced earthquakes:

Several small to moderate earthquakes have been detected in the Indian state Chhattisgarh over the past months. On October 13th, the strongest event so far, Magnitude 4.9, has caused damage in nearby village. Reports include claims by locals that some houses collapsed. Although the origin of these events is not studied yet (tectonic most likely), villagers blame activity in a nearby mine.

Two small earthquakes of Magnitude 3.1 and 2.2 at the Groningen gas field in northern Netherlands lead to several hundred damage claims.

Other earthquakes:

Only seven earthquakes larger than Magnitude 6 occurred this October which is far below the long-term monthly average (10 – 12). Of these seven events, only the M6.5 on Luzon lead to damage.

Impact statistics

Damaging earthquakes: 26 (2 induced, 1 volcano-related, 4 uncertain origins)
Affected countries: 19: India (3 quakes), China, Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Türkiye (2), Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, South Korea, Thailand, USA (1)
Casualties: 1
Injuries: 1420
People displaced: ~6300
Buildings damaged: ~17,500
Buildings destroyed: ~1550

Recent Reports

Two destructive earthquakes caused 99% of all October losses.

Summary of damaging earthquakes in September 2022: Multiple large and deadly quakes across the globe.

Summary of damaging earthquakes in August 2022: Very low seismicity and losses.

Multiple earthquake sequences, destructive events and volcanic effects led to more than 30,000 damaged buildings.

A deadly combination of earthquake properties and regional characteristics resulted in one of the worst disasters in Afghan history