1992 Cairo earthquake

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1992 Cairo earthquake
UTC  time1992-10-12 13:09:55
ISC  event 267175
Local date12 October 1992
Local time3:09:55 pm EET
Magnitude5.8 mb
Depth22 km (14 mi)
Epicenter 29°46′41″N31°08′38″E / 29.778°N 31.144°E / 29.778; 31.144 Coordinates: 29°46′41″N31°08′38″E / 29.778°N 31.144°E / 29.778; 31.144
Areas affected Egypt, Cairo
Max. intensity VIII (Severe)
Casualties545 dead, 6,512 injured

The 1992 Cairo earthquake occurred at 15:09 local time (13:09 UTC) on 12 October, with an epicenter near Dahshur, 35 km (22 mi) south of Cairo. The earthquake had a magnitude of either 5.8 [1] [2] [3] or 5.9, [4] [5] [6] [7] but was unusually destructive for its size, causing 545 deaths, injuring 6,512 and making 50,000 people homeless. It was the most damaging seismic event to affect Cairo since 1847. [1]



Cairo is sited within a diffuse zone of faulting that transfers extension from the Gulf of Suez Rift to the Manzala rift beneath the Nile delta. [8]


The areas of greatest damage were in Old Cairo, Bulaq and southwards along the Nile as far as Girza, on the west bank. [4] 350 buildings were completely destroyed and 9,000 other severely damaged. 216 mosques and 350 schools were badly damaged and about 50,000 people made homeless. [4] Most of the severe damage was confined to older masonry structures and particularly those built of adobe. Liquefaction was reported from areas near the epicenter. [1] It caused the collapse of a multi-storey apartment building in Heliopolis, killing 79 people. Fortunately, many of the inhabitants were outside of the building at the time of the event. It was later revealed that many additional stories were added to the building illegally and the ground floor/basement had been opened up to accommodate community amenities, including a laundry. [9]

The high number of deaths and injuries (545 and 6,512 respectively) was partly due to the amount of panic caused by the earthquake in Cairo itself. [4] Damage was reported to have affected 212 out of a total of 560 historic monuments in the Cairo area. [10] A large block fell from the Great Pyramid of Giza. [4]

Earthquake characteristics

Isoseismal map for the 1992 Cairo earthquake Cairo 1992 Isoseismal Map.PNG
Isoseismal map for the 1992 Cairo earthquake

The earthquake was felt throughout most of northern Egypt, in Alexandria, Port Said and as far south as Asyut, and in southern Israel. [4] The calculated focal mechanism suggests that this event originated on a WNW-ESE or W-E trending normal fault with a small strike-slip component. [11] The aftershocks extended about 11 km (6.8 mi) to the southeast of the main shock epicenter, indicating unidirectional rupture propagation. The estimated fault rupture length was also 11 km (6.8 mi). [11] The earthquake consisted of two sub-events, the second located about 27 km (17 mi) southeast of the first. [12]


The government was criticized for not doing much to respond. On the other hand, Islamic fundamentalist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood stepped in to provide aid. [13]

See also

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