2012 Iran Earthquake: 250 Dead, Thousands Injured -- What Caused It?
Two earthquakes rocked the Iran on Saturday night, killing 250 people and injuring thousands. The twin quakes leveled villages and forced people to sleep outdoors in Northwestern Iran, the state television channel said.
Rescuers worked around the clock to free people trapped under rubble, and the Iranian State television showed images of people being taken away on stretchers and undergoing treatment for broken limbs and concussions.
The first quake hit at 4:53 p.m. local time on Saturday, and was a magnitude 6.4. The second quake, which hit 11 minutes later, was a magnitude 6.3. Six villages were completely leveled and more than 100 sustained severe damage, according to CTV News.
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"I saw some people whose entire home was destroyed, and all their livestock killed," Tahir Sadati, a local photographer, told Reuters. "People need help, they need warm clothes, more tents, blankets and bread."
So what caused the earthquakes?
Iran lies on a seismic fault, making it prone to earthquakes. The country experiences an earthquake per day on average, but most are not felt. According to Buffalo University, faults cover 90 percent of Iran, making it one of the most seismically active countries on the planet.
Faults are cracks in the Earth where sections of a tectonic plate are moving in different directions. As the plates rub against each other or push together, they release energy in the form of seismic waves, which causes the ground to shake.
In 2003, Iran was hit by a deadly magnitude 6.6 earthquake that leveled the historic city of Bam and killed more than 26,000 people.
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