Deadly Iran Earthquake Leaves Thousands Homeless

April 19, 2013; 5:16 AM ET
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In this photo taken Tuesday, April 16, 2013, Iranians clear a route at the Gosht district after an earthquake hit southeastern Iran.

USGS made significant updates to the depth of the earthquake. It was initially estimated to be at a depth of 9.4 miles below the earth's surface, and the depth is now estimated at 51.0 miles below the earth's surface. The depth of the quake has serious implications on the shaking felt around it. Around the epicenter, strong shaking was felt with light damage possible.


A violent, shallow earthquake having a preliminary magnitude of 7.8 has rocked a wide area of southeastern Iran near the Pakistan border.

The Pakistan national disaster management authority reported at least 35 people have been killed due to the earthquake. Meanwhile, media in Iran has reported only one fatality from the quake at this time.

Some of the hardest-hit areas according to reports are in southwest Pakistan, where more than 3,000 homes were destroyed. Nearly 20,000 people are now homeless due to the effects of the earthquake and following aftershocks.

According to the USGS, since the initial 7.8 magnitude earthquake, there have been five aftershocks with a magnitude greater than 4.0 that have continued to shake the region, affecting already damaged buildings.

The quake struck at 1044 UTC, or 6:44 a.m. EDT, in a desert region about 50 miles east of Khash, Iran, the USGS Earthquake Hazards website said. The preliminary focal depth was 15.2 km, or 9.4 miles, making it a very shallow shock.

The USGS PAGER page estimated that more than 340,000 people were subject to intensity VII shaking, which is described as "very strong," having "moderate" to "heavy" damage potential.

Strong to very strong shaking reached well into western Pakistan and even southwestern Afghanistan.

A poster to the USGS "Did You Feel It?" page reported feeling the quake in Karachi, Pakistan, nearly 400 miles from the preliminary epicenter.

Buildings shook "for 40 seconds or more" in Abu Dhabi, CNN reported.

The shaken area is desert, having rugged mountain ranges and broad valleys.

Meteorologist Eric Leister contributed to this story.

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