Authorities say at least 40 people were killed Tuesday after a powerful earthquake struck Iran near its border with Pakistan.
According to the United State Geological Survey, the 7.8 magnitude quake struck around 3:44 pm local time (6:44 am EST) in southeastern Iran, about 50 miles east of the city of Khash.
There were reports of tremors lasting as long as 30 seconds felt in Qatar, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi in the Gulf, in Multan in Pakistan, and elsewhere. BBC reports in Delhi, more than 1,500 miles from the quake’s suspected epicenter, office workers evacuated buildings as fittings shook and windows rattled.
The USGS said that the temblor had a depth of 9.7 miles. Such deep quakes are rare and typically have greater destructive capability.
“It was the biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead,” said an Iranian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Following the quake, Iranian television reports suggested that at least 40 people had been killed and possibly as many as 200, but no official figures were given, and the reports could not be confirmed.
Tuesday’s earthquake came less than a week after a 6.1 magnitude temblor about 60 miles southeast of Bushehr, the site of Iran’s main nuclear reactor, devastating two villages, leaving 37 people dead and more than 800 injured.
Due to Iran’s proximity to geological faultlines, the middle eastern country is prone to earthquakes.
A 6.6 quake in 2003 flattened the southern city of Bam and killed about 40,000 people, and, in 1990, at least 30,000 people also died in a quake along the Caspian Sea.
PressTV has more on Tuesday’s 7.8 magnitude quake in Iran in the video below: