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Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:24PM
Ruins of structures destroyed by a powerful quake in Iran's northwestern province of East Azarbaijan on August 11, 2012

Ruins of structures destroyed by a powerful quake in Iran's northwestern province of East Azarbaijan on August 11, 2012

At least 250 people have been killed and over 2,000 others injured in two powerful earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks that rocked Iran's northwestern province of East Azarbaijan. On Saturday, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the city of Ahar, near the provincial capital Tabriz, at 15:53 local time (1123 GMT). The quake struck 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 kilometers (6.2 miles). Another quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale jolted Varzaqan and Haris, which are located near Ahar, 11 minutes later at a similar depth. The epicenter of the quake was 49 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Tabriz. Twelve villages in Varzaqan have been completely destroyed by the earthquake and about 60 others have been partially destroyed. Thousands of people were forced to remain outdoors as at least 20 aftershocks rocked the area. East Azarbaijan Crisis Management Headquarters Director Khalil Saei confirmed the death toll and the number of injured people. He said rescue operation teams have been deployed to the area to help the victims of the quakes. Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes, experiencing at least one small tremor per day on average. In December 2003, about 27,000 people were killed and 30,000 others injured when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake shook the historic city of Bam in southeastern Iran. The deadliest earthquake in modern Iranian history was a 7.4-magnitude tremor that occurred on June 21, 1990 and affected Gilan and Zanjan provinces. About 40,000 people were killed, 60,000 others were injured, and around 100,000 adobe houses sustained major damage or collapsed. AGB/AS/HGL