Strong earthquake jolts northwestern Iran

Updated: 2012-08-11 23:42


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Tehran - A strong earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted northwestern Iran on Saturday, according to Iranian Seismological Center.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10 km, was initially determined to be at 38.49 degrees north latitude and 46.87 degrees east longitude in Ahar city of East Azarbaijan, according to the report.

The quake happened at 12:23 GMT (local time 16:53) with no immediate report about casualties.  

The first quake was followed by another one measuring 6 on the Richter scale in Varzaghan region near Ahar with the depth of 10 km, and 38.45 degrees north latitude and 46.73 degrees east longitude at 12:34 GMT (local time 17:04).

The quake was strongly felt in Tabriz, the capital city of Iran 's East Azerbaijan, about 130 km away from Ahar, and the people rushed out of their houses to the streets in panic, a local told Xinhua.

Connections via mobile phones and regular phones have been disrupted in Tabriz and in Ahar, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Mohammad Mozaffar, the head of the state rescue organization, told Mehr that communication with the villages in the region has been cut off and the connections are made via wireless transmitters.

No reports about the number of fatalities have been released so far, but the injured people are being transferred to the hospitals, said Mozaffar, adding that most of the injuries are bone fractures.

According to a report by the semi-official ISNA news agency, elecricity cut-off has been reported in some parts of Tabriz.    

Iran, including its capital Tehran, sits astride several major fault-lines in the earth crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes. Moderate quakes sometimes caused huge damages in some regions due to poor construction.