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Relatively powerful earthquake jolts Mazandaran province in Iran

7/11/04 Noshahr, Mazandaran prov, July 11, IRNA -- A relatively strong earthquake jolted 'Kelardasht' region in the western part of the northern province of Mazandaran at 18:10 hours local time (13:40 GMT) Sunday afternoon.

The magnitude of the quake and possible injuries or damages have not been reported.

The tremors, however caused panic among local populations due to prior history in the area which was hit by tremors measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale on May 28 and destroyed or severely damaged over 7,000 housing units in the area.

The tremors were felt in almost half of the country, including the capital Tehran. At least 30 people were killed and 250 others injured. The quake also severely damaged 27 villages in Mazandaran.

Iran is situated on some of the world's most active seismic fault lines and quakes of varying magnitudes are of usual occurrence.

A major quake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the open-ended Richter scale rocked the southeastern city of Bam killing over 43,000 on December 26.

The historic walled citadel of Bam was destroyed by the temblor, its renowned mud-brick architecture proving ill-equipped to withstand the magnitude of the quake.

During the 20th century, around 20 major quakes hit Iran, leaving more than 140,000 people dead. Since 1991 alone, and before the Bam disaster, nearly 1,000 earthquakes had claimed some 17,600 lives and injured 53,000 people, according to official figures.

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