Moderate 5.7-magnitude earthquake rocks northeastern Iran

July 30th, 2010 - 9:29 pm ICT by BNO News  

TEHRAN (BNO NEWS) — A moderate earthquake struck northeastern Iran on late Friday afternoon, seismologists said, but it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

The 5.7-magnitude earthquake at 6.20 p.m. local time (1350 GMT) was centered approximately 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) from Torbat-e Heydarieh, a city in the country’s Razavi Khorasan province. It struck about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) deep, making it a very shallow earthquake, according to the Iranian Seismological Center.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the strength of the earthquake at 5.6 on the Richter scale.

The USGS estimated that around 164,000 people likely perceived ‘very strong’ shaking as a result of the earthquake, which could potentially result in moderate to heavy damage. “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist,” it said.

The agency further estimated that around 50,000 people likely perceived strong shaking, while around 4.5 million others likely perceived light to moderate shaking.

It was not immediately clear if there was any damage or if there were any casualties from the earthquake, but small and moderate earthquakes sometimes cause heavy damage in certain parts of the country due to poor construction.

In November 2009, a light 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, injuring more than 700 people.

And in 2003, at least 25,000 people where killed when a 6.7 earthquake struck near Bam in Kerman province of southeastern Iran.

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