Strong earthquakes hit northwest Iran

Two earthquakes struck 11 minutes apart in northwest Iran Saturday. The US Geological Survey measured the first quake at 6.4 magnitude, while the second quake measured 6.3.

Two strong earthquakes struck northwest Iran on Saturday, killing 87 people, injuring hundreds and scaring thousands into fleeing their homes as aftershocks continued to hit the area, Iranian state media said.

Iran is straddled by several major fault lines and has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years, including a 6.6. magnitude quake in 2003 which turned the southeastern historic city of Bam into dust and killed more than 25,000 people.

The US Geological Survey measured Saturday's first quake at 6.4 magnitude and said it struck 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of the city of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 kilometers (6.2 miles). A second quake measuring 6.3 struck 49 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Tabriz 11 minutes later at a similar depth. (See map here.)

There have been at least 18 aftershocks since then, Iranian media said.

The second quake struck near the town of Varzaghan (see map here). "The quake was so intense that people poured into the streets through fear," Fars news agency said of the town.

The head of the crisis center in Iran's East Azerbaijan Province where the quakes struck said 87 people had been killed, Fars said. Some 600 had been injured, the agency added.

Some 210 people in Varzaghan and Ahar have been rescued from under the rubble of collapsed buildings, the official IRNA news agency said, quoting a local official.

Tabriz is a major city and trading hub far from Iran's oil producing areas and known nuclear facilities. Though buildings in the city are substantially built, homes and businesses in Iranian villages are often made of concrete blocks or mud brick that can crumble and collapse in a strong quake.

A local provincial official urged people in the region to stay outdoors during the night for fear of aftershocks, according to IRNA. Lawmaker Abbas Falah said people in the region are in need of bread, tents and drinking water.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.