A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Tajikistan on Thursday, the US Geological Survey said. The quake hit around 5:37 am local time (0037 GMT) at a depth of about 20.5 kilometres (12.7 miles).
The USGS assessed that “little or no population” would be exposed to landslides from the quake.
Its epicentre appeared to be in Gorno-Badakhshan, a semi-autonomous eastern region that borders Afghanistan and China, about 67 kilometres from the small mountain town of Murghob.
A 5.0-magnitude aftershock hit the area about 20 minutes after the initial quake, followed by a 4.6-magnitude quake.
The sparsely populated territory is surrounded by the towering Pamir Mountains and is home to Lake Sarez.
The aquamarine-coloured body of water made as a result of an earthquake in 1911 is among Tajikistan’s largest ponds.
Located behind Lake Sarez is a natural dam deep in the Pamir mountains, and specialists have warned the consequences will be catastrophic if the dam is breached.
Tajikistan like much of the rest of Central Asia is highly prone to natural disasters and has a long history of floods, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and heavy snowfalls.
Earlier this month, nine people died in a February 15 avalanche in Gorno-Badakhshan, while another person was killed the same day in an avalanche on a highway near the capital Dushanbe.