Serious earthquakes in Morocco, which the U.S. Geological Survey calls “uncommon but not unexpected,” have inflicted deaths and significant economic damage before.
The worst in Morocco’s recent history was a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that killed about 12,000 people and injured another 12,000 in March 1960.
The western coastal town of Agadir crumbled under that quake’s force. About a third of its population perished. Restaurants, shops and the central market were leveled. Thousands of people were buried under concrete.
A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck northern Morocco in February 2004, killing about 630 people, injuring hundreds and leaving about 15,000 homeless.
That quake, in the Mediterranean port city of Al Hoceima, toppled mud-brick homes and buried sleeping residents under rubble. In a nearby village, homes were flattened like cardboard boxes. The next day, dozens of survivors left homeless by the earthquake protested what they said was a lack of government aid. Several people were injured in a clash between protesters and the Moroccan military that day, CNN reported at the time.
The earthquake on Friday took place in the African Plate, about 340 miles south of the African-Eurasian plate boundary, which is seismically active.
Other big earthquakes in Morocco have claimed fewer lives. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake in March 1969 killed about a dozen people. And a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco and Spain in January 2016, killing one person.