Wednesday 8 January 2014

One person killed and around 30 injured following Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake in Hormozgan Province, Iran.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake at a depth of 10.1 km, about 10 km to the northeast of the city of Bastak in Hormozgan Province, Iran, slightly before 6.45 am local time (slightly before 3.15 am GMT) on Tuesday 2 January 2013. Local authorities have stated that one person was killed by this event, and about 30 injured sufficiently to warrant hospital treatment, though 14 of these were discharged within 24 hours. The quake is also understood to have destroyed around 800 homes, and damaged around 2500 more.

Damage in Bastak following the 2 January 2014 Earthquake. Ali Hasanzedeh/Fars News Agency.

Iran is situated on the southern margin of the Eurasian Plate. Immediately to the south lies the Arabian Plate, which is being pushed northward by the impact of Africa from the south. This has created a zone of faulting and fold mountains along the southwest coast of the country, known as the Zagros Thrust Belt, while to the northeast of this the geology is dominated by three large tectonic blocks, the Central Iran, Lut and Helmand, which move separately in response to pressure from the south, stretching and compressing the rock layers close to the surface and creating frequent Earthquakes, some of which can be very large.

The movement of the Arabian Plate and extent of the Zagros Thrust Belt. Rasoul Sorkhabi/Geo ExPro.

The population of Iran is particularly at risk from Earthquakes as, unlike most other Earthquake-prone nations, very few buildings in the country are quake-resistant. The majority of residential buildings in Iran are made of mud-brick, a building material particularly vulnerable to Earthquakes as the bricks often liquify, trapping people inside and quickly asphyxiating them with dust. This is particularly dangerous at night when the majority of people are inside sleeping,.

The approximate location of the 2 January 2014 Bastak Earthquake. Google Maps.

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