2/22/2005 Kerman,Iran Quake

Updated 3/20/2005

This 6.4M quake hit Central Iran Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at 02:25AM (GMT) or 5:55 AM local time.

The epicenter was:
55 km (35 miles) NNW of Kerman, Iran
185 km (115 miles) NE of Sirjan, Iran
270 km (165 miles) ESE of Yazd, Iran
745 km (465 miles) SE of TEHRAN, Iran

According to the USGS at least 602 people were killed and 991 injured. The quake hit a rural area with no large cities, lessening the impact. Five villages were reported very heavily damaged with perhaps 50 more having substantial damage. Rescue efforts were somewhat hampered by heavy rains and freezing temperatures but there were also reports that rescue units were already on alert for fear that the rain would cause damage. Roads to some of the area have been blocked by landslides, making it difficult for needed heavy equipment to reach the scene. Numerous aftershocks kept many out of doors for fear of further damage to buildings. Most of the casualties were from collapsed buildings. Gas and electricity supplies have been disrupted and the government has asked people to limit use of mobile phones to allow better communications among emergency personnel. The Iranian government declared a national day of mourning for the dead.

The earthquake was caused by stresses generated by the northward movement of the Arbaian Plate into the Eurasian Plate at about 1 inch per year. This is sufficient to cause frequent quakes throughout Iran. The February 22 earthquake is 125 km northwest of the destructive earthquakes of June 11, 1981 (magnitude 6.6, approximately 3,000 deaths) and July 28, 1981 (magnitude 7.3, approximately 1,500 deaths) and about 250 km northwest of the devastating Bam earthquake of December 26, 2003 (magnitude 6.6, over 30,000 deaths).

(See the Plate Tectonics page for more information on these processes.) The US Geological Survey (USGS) is an invaluable resource in understanding and tracking earthquakes.

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