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08/20/12

Quakes in Northwest Iran Damage Historical Buildings

Source: Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency

A number of historical monuments have been damaged after two powerful earthquakes rocked the cities of Ahar and Varzaqan in northwest Iran. According to cultural heritage experts, the roof of Sheikh Shahabeddin Ahari's tomb, and the Qasem Khan Ahari's house, a building from the Qajar era, have both sustained 30 percent damage.


Sheikh Shahabeddin Ahari's tomb

Quakes also caused 25 percent structural damage to the Amir Arshad House in a village near the city of Varzaqan, which is one of the monuments left from the Qajar era.

"Ahar and Varzaqan boast many sites from different historical eras, and the majority of them have not sustained extensive damages," said Torab Mohammadi, head of Iran's East Azarbaijan cultural heritage office.

At least 300 people have been killed and over 2,600 others injured in two powerful earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks in Iran's East Azarbaijan Province on Saturday.

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the city of Ahar, near the provincial capital Tabriz, at 15:53 local time (1123 GMT). The quake struck 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 kilometers (6.2 miles).

Another quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale jolted Varzaqan and Haris, located near Ahar, 11 minutes later at a similar depth. The epicenter of the quake was 49 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Tabriz.

Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes, experiencing at least one small tremor per day on average.

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