Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 16, 2013

Earthquake in Iran

A massive earthquake with an 8.0 7.8 magnitude hit Iran near the border to Pakistan. The tremor was felt from Dubai to Delhi. Reports show the quake at 15.2 kilometers (9.2 miles) depth 86km (53mi) east south east of Khash (population  57,000), Iran. The U.S. geographic service has changed the deapth estimate to 82.0km (51.0mi) which is likely less damaging.

In 1978 a similar strong quake in the general area killed about 15,000 people. The current impact estimate predicts "severe exposure" with "moderate/heavy damage" for over 340,000 people. The impact estimate was lowered, probably because of the new depth estimate. The immediate area is sparsely populated with mostly nomads living in tents. Iranian officials expect "hundreds of dead". Phonelines between Tehran, where the quake was not felt, and Zahedan, a 550,000  people city about 150 km from the quake center, are down.

AlJazeerah reports 1,000 buildings in Pakistan (often mudstructures) were destroyed by the quake.

According to Russia Today no damage was done to the Busher nuclear reactor which is operated by a Russian and Iranian crew.

The damage and loss of live now seem to be much less than was feared in the first hour after the quake occured.

Last Update (11:00am): Iranian authorities now says "Zero death, only a few wounded". That is amazing for a quake of this size. It will be interesting to read how geologists will explain this event.


Posted by b on April 16, 2013 at 07:10 AM | Permalink


Click here and scroll down to see a map: Seismicity of Iran.
According to USGS it was located 201 km southeast of the Iranian city of Zahedan and 250 km northwest of Turbat in Pakistan, USGS said. The epicenter was in southeast Iran in an area of mountains and desert.

Zahedan is just below the border tripoint (Iran, Afghan, Pakistan) on the map, in Balochistan so the quake was approximately where that "nipple" is on the Iran/Pak border. I imagine that the abuilding IP gas pipeline would be in that general area.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2013 9:03:45 AM | 1

Penny had a post on this pipeline, no map or current status location info, but an intresting read regarding China's gain.

Posted by: Kev | Apr 16, 2013 9:14:20 AM | 2

Epicenter shown here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2013 9:55:03 AM | 3

@ 2: Thanks for that link. Missed that at Penny's. Another puzzle piece assembled.

Posted by: ben | Apr 16, 2013 10:21:17 AM | 4

From RT:

Posted by: ben | Apr 16, 2013 10:28:42 AM | 5

It will be interesting to read how geologists will explain this event.

LOL, Mayan Ninth Wave!

Posted by: hans | Apr 16, 2013 11:47:45 AM | 6

"Zero death, only a few wounded"

Yeah, right. The earthquake that struck Iran a couple of years ago and which cause hundreds of deaths was used as a stick to beat the Iranian Government. It was said that poor handling of the rescue operation and low stocks of medicines was a result of an incompetent Government, rather than pointing to the scale of the disaster and US sanctions frustrating efforts by authorities to save the dying - as any right minded individual would have done.

It is no wonder then that Iranian authorities will not provide the same ammunition this time for those who wish to foment social chaos in Iran.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Apr 16, 2013 12:04:51 PM | 7

7.8 earthquake? You would never know watching the 24 hour coverage of the Boston Marathon on US mainstream media.

I suspect the culprit will be a lone wolf extremist or possibly a white racist Neo-Nazi militia group. I doubt they will blame this one on the crazy jihadists, since the USA actually supports those guys in Syria.

Posted by: HIlmi Hakim | Apr 16, 2013 12:36:04 PM | 8

@Pat Bateman

Actually, despite the obstructions and enmity that you are mentioning, almost all of the media that I was able to check, be it state owned or private, try their best to continue providing objective and un-biased information in case of emergency events like that.

Posted by: ATH | Apr 16, 2013 12:54:17 PM | 9

It seems that this earthquake was quite different than the usual ones.

Considering subduction-zone earthquakes can strike nearly 435 miles (700 km) deep in the Earth, today's quake was likely within the Arabian Plate itself, not along the zone where the two massive slabs meet, said Bill Barnhart, a research geophysicist with the USGS in Denver.

"We don't fully know yet, but instead of being slip along the slab, it was probably an earthquake within the slab," Barnhart told OurAmazingPlanet. "This is related to the subducting slab flexing as it goes down deeper into the Earth."

Instead on two earth crust plates rubbing on each other this was a one plate event which may explain the rather small damage despite being a high Richter level quake.

Posted by: b | Apr 16, 2013 1:54:35 PM | 10

@HIlmi Hakim

That boston marathon explosion film clip has become pure news porn.

Posted by: heath | Apr 16, 2013 2:56:33 PM | 11

Well, I don't know that they use it for apartment buildings in the affected town, but I've read about plenty about incredible Iranian advances in making cement stronger. They need super-strong cement for the obvious military reasons. Be interesting to know if they are also using it for protection against earthquakes.

Posted by: guest | Apr 16, 2013 5:28:09 PM | 12

This image confirms that the quake wasn't on a major fault line but actually on the Eurasian Plate. Similar situation for Bushehr, on the Arabian Plate. Of course there would be minor fault lines too. I haven't heard (yet) of significant after-shocks in either case, but that doesn't mean that they didn't get them.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 16, 2013 6:40:52 PM | 13


Iran is among the first countries in the world in the construction of dams. They just started the construction of the highest dam in the world in the Zagros mountains region (4500 m). The super strong cement is mainly for this purpose. Obviously, like in any other powerful country, if there is a military application for it (bunkers etc...) so be it.

Posted by: ATH | Apr 16, 2013 6:45:59 PM | 14

The comments to this entry are closed.