Moment Magnitude (Mw):
Greenwich Mean Date:
An earthquake registering a preliminary magnitude of Mw 6.1 occurred at 4:47 p.m. local epicentral time, February 28 (12:57 UTC, February 28) in northwestern Iran near the border with Azerbaijan. The quake was centered about 365 miles northwest of Tehran in the mountainous region east of Tabriz, within the Kuhha-ye Sabalan Mountains. The focal depth was shallow and 15 km was used as a fixed depth for quick processing of the focal mechanism. The motion of the quake was strike-slip along a nearly east-west trending and nearly vertical fault plane. Numerous aftershocks have been detected, the largest registering 4.8 on Sunday, March 2. There has been no indication of surface fault ruptures as of yet.
Wire reports indicate substantial damage has occurred in the region with considerable loss of life. At last count at least 502 people have been reportedly killed with more than 1,600 injured and 35,000 left homeless. Numerous buildings have collapsed or sustained multiple wall failures. Hardest hit with the towns of Ardabil, Meshkinshahr and Shiranas as they contained some of the taller structures in the region. Heavy to total damage has also been reported in over neighboring 110 villages. Rescue attempts have been hampered by freezing temperatures, show and rock slides, and damaged bridges. Death and injury counts are expected to continue rise as more villages are investigated.