5.9-magnitude earthquake strikes southwestern Iran

Tehran: A magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook southwestern Iran along the Persian Gulf on Sunday, followed by over a dozen aftershocks, state TV reported. At least five people were injured, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.

State TV shared mobile phone pictures of cracked and collapsed walls in the area of the port city of Bandar Genaveh, the temblor’s epicenter. People rushed into the streets of the city as the quakes struck, IRNA said. Video shot by a bystander at an industrial site near Bandar Genaveh appeared to show landslides in nearby foothills. Iranian media widely rebroadcast the footage.

Three aftershocks of magnitude 4 followed the initial quake, the report said, as well as other weaker ones. The U.S. Geological Survey called the initial temblor a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. It said its depth was 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). A magnitude 5 earthquake can cause considerable damage. Such shallow earthquakes as Sunday’s also can result in broader damage.

The quake was some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. There was no immediate report on the plant, though the facility was constructed to withstand earthquakes up to magnitude 8.

Iran is on major seismic faults and experiences one earthquake a day on average. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

A magnitude 7 earthquake that struck western Iran in 2017 killed more than 600 people and injured more than 9,000.

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