One expert has told CNN he expects multiple strong aftershocks given the intensity of the magnitude 6.8 quake that struck Morocco late on Friday night.
Jonathan Stewart, a professor of civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, said he expected the magnitude of these aftershocks to be in the “high fives.”
Another possibility, though very slim, was that Friday night’s temblor could be a precursor to an even stronger quake, he said.
Stewart said that while the quake was 30 times weaker than the 7.8 magnitude quake that hit Turkey earlier this year, it still released “a tremendous amount of energy” and was likely to do substantial damage.
He said the epicenter of the Morocco earthquake was in a mid-plate region, which is relatively unusual for a major temblor.
“As far as where it happened to occur, it really is a roll of the dice,” he said, adding that it could have been worse if the epicenter had been closer to Marrakech.
Even so, he warned that for vulnerable structures like unreinforced masonry structures and non-dental concrete, “we can expect significant damage.”