Earthquake Today: Dubai, Iran, India Report Effects Of 7.8 Quake [UPDATED]

By iScienceTimes Staff on April 16, 2013 10:31 AM EDT

Earthquake today
This graphic from Reuters shows the epicenter of the earthquake today. (Photo: Reuters)

Update:

According to a report from Emirates 24/7, tremors measuring near 4 or 5 on the Richter scale were felt throughout the Dubai region after the 7.8 earthquake that struck Iran yesterday. Tremors were reported from Garhoud, Silicon Oasis and Sharjah Airport Free Zone. A BBM message sent out after the Iran quake warned people to evacuate buildings. This led to Al Garhoud hospital as well as buildings in Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai Marina being evacuated. Crowds of evacuees gathered near Jebel Ali, Sheikh Zayed Road and Emaar Square yesterday but no injuries or damage was reported. A widespread outage of Dubai's mobile and internet service occurred because of high volume and was not related to the Iranian earthquake.

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The death toll for the 7.8 quake still stands at 40, with all reported deaths occurring in Pakistan's dirt-poor province of Baluchistan, where hundreds of mud-built homes suffered damage. The relatively low death toll is being attributed to the location of the quake, which had its epicenter in the middle of a desert far from highly populated areas. In Papua New Guinea, similarly low amounts of damage have been reported after a 6.8 earthquake today

An earthquake today in Iran was the strongest in half a century, and was felt as far away as Dubai and India. The 7.8 earthquake today comes just one week after a 6.1 quake hit Iran's gulf coast, killing 37 people and injuring 850 more. The earthquake today has reportedly killed 40 people so far, but Iran's state-run Press TV gave no further details on the extent of the damage. However, one Iranian official told Reuters that hundreds are feared dead in Khash, a city of 60,000 close to the quake's epicenter. State-run Pakistan Television said at least six people were killed on its side of the border and at least 47 others were injured. Up to 1,000 mud homes were damaged in the earthquake today.

The quake was felt over a vast area from New Delhi to Gulf cities, which have some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, including the record 828-meter (2,717 -foot) Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The earthquake in Dubai caused some buildings to sway, but no casualties have been reported there or in India, where aftershocks of the earthquake today were also felt. The epicenter of the quake was about 26 miles north of Saravan city near the Iran-Pakistan border.

Here is the tectonic summary of the earthquake today from the U.S. Geological Survey:

The April 16, 2013 M 7.8 earthquake east of Khash, Iran, occurred as a result of normal faulting at an intermediate depth in the Arabian plate lithosphere, approximately 80 km beneath the Earth's surface. Regional tectonics are dominated by the collisions of the Arabian and India plates with Eurasia; at the longitude of this event, the Arabian plate is converging towards the north-northeast at a rate of approximately 37 mm/yr with respect to the Eurasian plate. Arabian plate lithosphere is subducted beneath the Eurasian plate at the Makran coast of Pakistan and Iran, and becomes progressively deeper to the north.

The subducted Arabian plate is known to be seismically active to depths of about 160 km. The frequency of moderate and large earthquakes within the subducted Arabian plate is not high compared with similar events in some other subducted plates worldwide, but several earthquakes have occurred within this slab in the region of today's event over the past 40 years, including a magnitude 6.7 shock 50 km to the south in 1983. In January of 2011, a M 7.2 earthquake occurred approximately 200 km to the east, in a similar tectonic environment to the April 16 earthquake.

The earthquake today seems comparatively benign compared to some of the quakes that have rocked the region in the past. In 2005, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake near Kashmir, Pakistan killed more than 80,000 people. A quake in 2003 in the ancient Iranian city of Bam killed more than 26,000 and measured 6.6 on the Richter scale. The earthquake today measure a 7.8 and the quake was felt in Dubai and India, so while reports of 40 dead, or even hundreds dead, are tragic, the devastation could've been far worse. Of course, it's entirely possible that we will not know the full extent of the damage until later today. Stay tuned for further developments.

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