Environment

Shallow M5.9 earthquake injures 75 people, damages buildings and farms in Gilan Gharb, Kermanshah, Iran


A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the Iranian Seismological Center as M5.9 hit Gilan Gharb, Kermanshah Province, Iran at 13:41 UTC on January 6, 2019 (17:29 LT). The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting it as M5.7 at a depth of 15 km (9.3 miles); USGS as M5.6 at a depth of 14 km (8.7 miles).

The epicenter was located 22 km (14 miles) W of Gīlān-e Gharb, Iran, 41 km (26 miles) SSW of Sarpol-e Z̄ahāb (population 51 611), Iran, and 43 km (26 miles) NNE of Mandalī (population 29 785), Iraq.

There are 1 790 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

2 000 people are estimated to have felt strong shaking, 42 000 moderate, 2 553 000 light and 51 153 000 weak.

Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iranian emergency medical services said the quake injured 75 people, most of them lightly. “All but one had been released after treatment,” he added.

The quake damaged some residential buildings and cattle farms, affected the quality of drinking water in Gilan Gharb and caused at least one road-blocking landslide.

At least 15 aftershocks, with magnitudes ranging from 3.0 to 4.8, hit the area in hours after the quakes.


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The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and low-rise nonductile concrete frame with infill construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, EMSC, TW/SAM



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