Moment Magnitude (Mw):
Greenwich Mean Date:
A very strong earthquake measuring a preliminary magnitude of Ms 7.3, Mw 7.2 occurred at 12:27 p.m. local time (07:57 UTC), May 10, along the remote eastern Iranian border with Afghanistan. The quake was centered about 50 miles northeast of Birjand near the small village of Shakhem, in the Qaen District. The official Iranian news agency, IRNA, has stated at least 200 people have been killed and widespread damage has occurred. Several buildings are reported to have collapsed and rescue workers have pulled scores of people from the rubble. IRNA said they expected the death toll to rise as more outlying villages reported in. Military personnel and rescue teams have been dispatched to the region from Tehran, about 600 miles to the northwest. The quake was centered along the western flank of the Qaen Mountains which has been the site of numerous large earthquakes in the past. Most recently, a M7.5 event on November 27, 1979 killed at least 17 people, injured 24 and caused extensive damage. The 1979 earthquake was located about 80 miles (130 km) north-northeast of Birjand and near today's temblor.
Iran has had a long history of devastating earthquakes. One of the more notable occurred in the 1700's when seven earthquakes registered M7 or stronger killed over 400,000 people:
In February of this year, two devastating earthquakes rocked Iran, a M6.5 along the Turkmenistan border on February 2 which killed at least 11 people, and a M6.0 in northwest Iran on February 28 which killed over 965 people.