A map showing that the epicenter of the earthquake was near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province (Photos: Getty/Metro)

Morocco was hit by a devastating earthquake on Friday, and its effects are still being felt across the country.

The epicenter of the tremor was near the town of Ighil in Al Haouz Province, in the Atlas Mountains, approximately 43 miles south of Marrakesh, as you can see on the map above.

Experts say this is an area unusual for earthquakes, as previous earthquakes have occurred in the north, near tectonic plates.

“The Atlas Mountains are an area of ​​weakness within Morocco and have a very long geological history,” Chris Elders, a structural geologist from Australia’s Curtin University, told Al Jazeera.

He explained: “Pressures are accumulating in those areas. Africa is moving north towards Europe, and this is the reason why the earthquake occurred in this particular region.

Marrakesh, the fourth largest city in Morocco, appears to have been severely affected as images of destroyed buildings emerge.

This is of concern to many historians and architects as the city’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hundreds slept near Jemaa El Fna Square after the earthquake (Photo: EPA)
Rescue workers search for survivors in a collapsed house in Moulay Brahim, Al Haouz province (Photo: AFP via Getty)

Al Haouz Governorate was the worst affected, with rescuers struggling to reach survivors trapped in some rural areas.

The states of Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant were particularly affected.

Rabat, the capital of Morocco, felt the 6.8-magnitude earthquake despite being located 220 miles north of the epicenter, the distance between Portugal and Algeria.

Aftershocks were reported in Marrakesh on Sunday, with many people choosing to sleep on the streets overnight because they were afraid to stay indoors when new tremors occurred.

Thousands died as a result of the earthquake, and thousands more were injured.

Other families are trapped under the rubble and rescuers are struggling to reach any survivors, especially in the worst-hit areas where roads are completely blocked by rubble.

Local residents have come together to try to help those trapped under collapsed buildings, with some reported to be sorting through the rubble with just their hands.

The earthquake was the largest to hit Morocco in 120 years, and toppled buildings and walls in ancient cities made of stones and stones not designed to withstand earthquakes.

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