5.7 magnitude earthquake hits northeastern Iran, injures 110

15:37, July 31, 2010      

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An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale hit the city of Torbat-e Heydarieh in Iran's northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province on Friday, leaving 110 people injured, local media reported.

The earthquake occurred at around 06:20 p.m. local time (1450 GMT) and rocked the city for about 10 seconds, causing excessive telecommunication disconnections, state news agency IRNA reported.

The earthquake, at a depth of 7 kilometers, is 35.2 degrees North Latitude and 59.3 degrees East Longitude, according to the Iranian Seismological Center's website.

Mayor of Torbat-e Heydarieh Mojtaba Sadeqian said 110 people were injured in the quake, adding one of the wounded was in critical condition, local satellite channel Press TV reported.

"There were no immediate reports of any mortalities in the earthquake. However, it is widely believed that a large number of people are trapped under the rubble, and the casualties are expected to be high," the official was quoted as saying.

Torbat-e Heydarieh is located 140 kilometers (87 miles) from the provincial capital city of Mashhad with a population of nearly 400,000.

Iran, including its capital Tehran, sits astride several major fault-lines in the earth's crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes.

Local media reports said the last deadly quake in Iran occurred in September 2008, when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake killed at least 7 people and injured almost 47 others in the southern Hormozgan province.

The worst quake happened in recent years was a magnitude 6.3 one, which struck the southern city of Bam on December 26, 2003, killing 31,000 people, about a quarter of the city's population, and destroying an ancient mud-built citadel.

Some Iranian officials suggest to move the capital from Tehran to some other places. The idea of shifting the capital away from Tehran is not something new, and related preliminary planning was done in the late 1980s and again in the early 1990s.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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