Strong extremely shallow earthquake in Iran kills at least 8 people, 23 injured and a lot of damage

Earthquake overview : A seemingly moderate earthquake became a deadly one because of the specific earthquake mechanisms in Iran and because of the poor building quality.
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Update Dec. 6, 12:34 UTC :

A full damage assessment has come out from Iran with the following details:-

20 villages have been damaged 60%.  (The method for Iran damage)

4 bodies have been delivered to the coroner, however, they are still waiting on 5 members of a 6 member family who presumably died when their house collapsed.

73 relief staff including 10 SAR personnel have been carrying out operations.

  • Outpatient treatment of victims: 8 people
  • The number of victims transported to the hospital: 12 people
  • Destruction of the 20 villages: 40 to 100 percent
  • The number of people resettled/evacuated to shelter: 1000 people

The following relief has been

  • Tent: 1000
  • Blankets: 600
  • Carpets: 900
  • Electric Lights: 600
  • Food and mineral water: 10000 cans.

2000 animals (livestock) are in the cold currently and there is a fear of them dying.

Update Dec. 6, 04:24 UTC : 8 people have been killed, and 1 person is missing as a result of this earthquake. 23 people have been injured with many others treated for superficial wounds.

زهان (Zohan) has seen the most damage and destruction with many houses destroyed. 5 people were killed and 1 is missing in this location. 707 people live in Zohan as of the year 2006, so this will be a great shock for the small town with 1% death rate.

15 villages in addition have been damaged/destroyed. Hosseinabad is one of those affected.

16 aftershocks between M3 and M4 have been keeping people out of their houses. It is extremely cold in South Khorasan at the moment. Around 5 degrees C overnight to 14 during the day, will mean that shelter is required.

South Khorasan is a reasonably poor region, and by the number of articles in the Iranian press about aid, this usually means that there is major damage in the villages affected.

Update Dec. 6, 21:49 UTC : For further news we will have to wait until the early morning hours in Iran. We will keep you updated.

Update 21:49 UTC : 15 emergency teams, 10 ambulances and a lot of heavy excavating equipment has been send to the epicenter area.  The weather is quit fair at the moment but temperatures go down to 3°C, thats freezing cold if you have to spend the night in open air.

Iranian SAR and relieve teams are very well organised as the country has a lot of dangerous even deadly earthquakes like this one.

Update 21:44 UTC : The epicenter of the quake was 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the town of Zohan, at a depth of nine kilometers, the Iranian Seismological Center said on its website. The quake caused damage to rural buildings and cut power lines and telephone communication. Iran has mostly adobe and brick stone houses who have a little or no resistance against earthquakes.

Update 21:03 UTC : The number of killed people remains at 5 but the number of injured has risen to at least 20.

Update 20:03 UTC : The Iranian Red Crescent is very active in trying to help the population as well as the SAR teams from the Iranian authorities.  It is currently dark in the Iran which makes relieve efforts and SAR searches extremely difficult. We will keep you updated when more news comes in.

Important update 19:45 UTC : Mehrnews Iran is reporting 4 villages very heavily damaged and  at least 5 people killed and 12 injured. A terrible result once more.

Update 17:45 UTC : Based on our experience we estimate that it will take many hours before we will get reports from the earthquake epicenter area.  The s it is dark in Iran . We are however convinced that at least minor damage may occur in an area approx. 10 to 20 km around the epicenter.

Update 17:40 UTC :  Our @Quake_tracker4 was far ahead of most other earthquake twitter accounts. Follow us and be informed as first about important earthquakes

Update 17:29 UTC : We only see a limited number of Iranian people online at the moment. The Magnitude has been lowered in the meantime to M5.6 but at an extremely shallow (and dangerous) depth of only 5.6 km.

Preliminary data are telling us a Magnitude of M6.0, but the final value can be far weaker or even higher.
Even at a Magnitude of 5.5, Iran may generate damage.

Preliminary epicenter

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.6
UTC Time : 2012-12-05 17:08:12 UTC
Local time at epicenter :  2012-12-05 20:38:12 UTC+03:30 at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 5.6 km
Geo-location(s) :
43km (27mi) SE of Qayen, Iran
75km (47mi) NNE of Birjand, Iran
125km (78mi) SE of Gonabad, Iran
178km (111mi) SW of Taybad, Iran

Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Shaking map
Scientific parameters
Human impact map

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SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
EMSC Eastern Iran Dec 05 17:08 5.6 10 MAP
  • Birjand - north-south shaking..building swayed
  • GEOFON Northern And Central Iran Dec 05 17:08 5.7 10 MAP
    USGS Eastern Iran Dec 05 17:08 5.6 5 MAP


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    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
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    Shaking Strength *
    MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
    MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
    People :
    Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
    MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
    Fittings :
    Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
    Structures :
    Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
    MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
    People :
    Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
    Fittings :
    Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
    Structures :
    Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
    MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
    People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
    Fittings :
    Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
    Structures :
    Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
    Environment :
    Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
    MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
    General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
    Fittings :
    Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
    Structures :
    Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
    Environment :
    Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
    MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
    People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
    MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
    Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
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