Thu May 3, 2012 4:39PM
At least eight people have been injured following an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale that hit the southwestern Iranian province of Ilam. The Geophysics Institute of Tehran University said the quake struck at 2:39 p.m. local time (1009 GMT) on Thursday, and jolted the city of Murmuri in Ilam Province, located some 876 kilometers (543 miles) southwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran. The epicenter was determined to be at 47.61 degrees east longitude and 32.74 degrees north latitude. Fazlullah Nosrati, a local civil defense official, said the quake has left eight people injured and razed at least 30 buildings to rubble. According to the latest reports, three aftershocks have so far occurred, the greatest of which had a magnitude of 3.7 on the Richter scale. Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes, experiencing at least one slight quake a day on average. Some 27,000 people were reportedly killed and 30,000 others injured on December 26, 2003, when a 6.6-magntitude earthquake shook the historic southeastern city of Bam in southeastern Iran. The deadliest recent quake in Iran, however, occurred on June 21, 1990, and was measured 7.4 on the Richter scale. About 100,000 adobe houses sustained major damage or collapsed. Forty thousand people were killed and 60,000 others injured in the earthquake that hit Iran’s Gilan and Zanjan provinces. MP/HJL