Entire villages destroyed by earthquake in the High Atlas Mountains • Earth.com

Entire villages destroyed by earthquake in the High Atlas Mountains

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory  features the western region of Morocco, where a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck on September 8, 2023. The violent earthquake killed thousands of people and many are still missing more than a week later.

“The damage proxy map shown above is a NASA Earth Observatory version of a map created by the Earth Observatory of Singapore – Remote Sensing Lab (EOS-RS). The map uses modified Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite data processed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and with software originally developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech,” said NASA.

“To map the landscape, including buildings, Sentinel-1’s radar sends pulses of microwaves toward Earth’s surface and ‘listens’ for reflected echoes of those waves. In the map above, the damage proxy data from EOS-RS was laid over a Landsat 9 image and combined with a digital elevation model based on data collected by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.”

According to NASA, the most severe destruction occurred in small rural villages in the High Atlas Mountains. Near the epicenter, entire communities were destroyed.

A resident of the town of Tinzert, Hakim Idlhousein, told CNN that it took just 10 seconds for his whole village to disappear. The homes have been reduced to rubble, and the survivors are still waiting for government aid. These hardest-hit regions have been difficult to reach after roads were destroyed by the earthquake. 

“Help has been slow to come and has so far mostly consisted of food and water brought up into the mountains in private cars by volunteers from across Morocco,” reported CNN.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

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