Shallow M5.9 earthquake hits northern Iran
A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M5.9 hit Turkey – Iran border region at 18:14 UTC on January 28, 2023. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M5.9 at a depth of 15 km (9 miles). The same region was hit by M5.8 earthquake on January 18, injuring at least 70 people and damaging more than 300 homes. The Seismological Center of the Institute of Geophysics of Tehran University reports M5.9 at a depth of 7 km (4 miles).
The epicenter was located 14.7 km (9.1 miles) SSW of Khowy (population 175 370), 27.8 km (17.3 miles) NNE of Salmās (population 81 606), and 76.3 km (47.4 miles) W of Marand (population 124 191), Iran.
33 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 322 000 strong and 198 000 moderate.
The USGS issued a Yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past yellow alerts have required a local or regional-level response.
Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of the GDP of Iran.
Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake-resistant construction. The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and dressed stone/block masonry construction.
Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.
West Azerbaijan Governor Mohammad Sadeq Motomedian said that initial reports indicated that at least 3 people had lost their lives and 816 others sustained injuries.
More than 70 villages have been damaged in the earthquake, Motamedian said, adding that a 20 to 50-percent damage has been inflicted on residential houses in Khoy.
Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking
Selected cities exposed
Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google
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