Earthquake review: January 2022

Published: 02/02/2022

Summary of damaging earthquakes in January 2022: 35 events, 32 casualties and more than 15,000 buildings damaged in 26 countries.

General summary:

During January 2022, 35 damaging earthquakes were recorded. This is slightly above the long-term monthly average. However, the magnitudes of those quakes were rather low. Resulting from those earthquakes, 32 people have lost their lives while 171 others were injured and around 15,000 displaced. More than 20,000 structures were damaged. These quakes affected 26 countries.

Damaging earthquakes:

The deadliest quake this month happened in Badhgis province in western Afghanistan on January 17th. Two quakes of Magnitude 4.7 and 5.3 within a few hours caused heavy destruction in poor, rural villages. At least 30 people died in this incident according to the latest official information. However, due to the limited official communication from local Taliban leaders, the exact extent of the disaster remains uncertain. Though, several thousand people were affected with many hundred buildings severely damaged or destroyed. We classify this event with an Impact Value of 2.2, although underestimation is likely.

With an Impact Value of 2.35, an earthquake in China earlier this month became the most destructive event in January. Although no lives were lost, around 5000 buildings were damaged and 1500 others destroyed by a magnitude 5.5 quake in Yunnan province, China on January 2nd. 30 people were injured and almost 7000 displaced.

Smaller earthquake disasters with Impact Values between 1.5 and 2 occurred in Qinghai, China on January 7th (M6.6: 10 injuries, 7000 buildings damaged), in Banten, Indonesia on January 14th (M6.6: 6 injuries, 3000 buildings damaged) and in Haiti, where a moderate aftershock (M5.3) of last years devastating M7.2 earthquake caused two casualties, more than 50 injuries and destroyed several hundred houses on January 24th.


One earthquake tsunami following a 6.5 earthquake near the Kermadec Island Raoul has been recorded on January 29th. This tsunami remained harmless due to its limited amplitude of only 10 cm.


At least seven earthquakes were followed by landslides or rockfalls that affected infrastructure or buildings. One person was killed by a rockslide in an open pit mine following the M5.3 Haiti earthquake.

Volcanic Eruption:

No damaging earthquakes were associated with volcanic activity. However, the devastating Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption on January 15th was followed by intense seismicity near the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa.

Induced earthquakes:

No damaging induced seismicity was observed. However, due to strong shaking effects of a Magnitude 4.5 earthquake in northern Oklahoma, USA, on January 31st, multiple injection wells were shut down to prevent further seismicity.

Other earthquakes:

Damaging earthquake swarms following intense rain falls happened in Karnataka, India and near the city of Divinopolis in Minas Gerais, Brazil in January. Both earthquake swarms remained limited in size (mostly below Magnitude 3) but caused cracks in some buildings due to their typical superficial hypocenters.

Recent Reports

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

News agencies report a megaquake at Lake Baikal on June 8th, earthquake surveys don't. Censorship? Propaganda? Warfare? An explanation: