Iran has entered a decade of earthquakes: expert

December 22, 2020 - 17:45

TEHRAN – Iran has entered a decade of earthquakes since the [Iranian calendar] year 1396 (March 2017- March 2018), as the Iranian plateau is shrinking by 30 millimeters per year, Mehdi Zare, professor of engineering seismology at the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), said.

An earthquake of magnitude 6 or more is likely to occur in Iran next year, he stated.

Zare went on to say that every year about 250 earthquakes of 4 to 4.9 magnitude, 25 earthquakes of 5 to 5.9 magnitude, two magnitudes 6 to 6.9 earthquakes happen in the country, adding, every 10 years two earthquakes of 7 to 7.9 magnitude occur.

The Iranian plateau is located in a very seismically active region of the world and is known not only for its major catastrophic earthquakes but also for the disasters relating to natural hazards, especially earthquakes. 

About 2 percent of the earthquakes of the world occur in Iran but more than 6 percent of the victims of the world earthquakes during the 20th century are reported from Iranian earthquakes. This shows the high level of vulnerability in Iran, according to Zare.

Tehran is also one of the most hazardous metropolises in the world in terms of the risk of different natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, subsidence, drought, landslide, fire following an earthquake, etc. On the other hand, Tehran has an over 8,300,000-night time population with a mixture of old non-resistant structures as well as modern high-rise buildings that affect the vulnerability of this city.

The region has a history of major historical earthquakes, for instance, in 958 A.D. in Rey-Taleghan with an estimated earthquake magnitude (EEM) of 7.7; 15 June 1665 with EEM 6.5 that caused a landslide and created Taar lake in the vicinity of Damavand, actually a mountain promenade in Tehran province; 27 March 1830 EEM 7.1 in Shemiranat; 2 October 1930 EEM5.0 in Ah-Mobarakabad; 20 January 1990 EEM5.9 in Firouzkooh; and 9 May 2020 EEM5.1 in Damavand, according to Zare.

Most recently, a 3.1 magnitude quake rocked Tehran province on September 19.

On May 27, an earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale occurred. On May 8, a 5.1 quake jolted the same area, killing two and injuring 33.


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