6.1 earthquake reported near Mashad in Iran

TEHRAN — A powerful magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck northeastern Iran near the holy city of Mashhad on Wednesday, sending people fleeing out onto the street as aftershocks shook the region.

Iranian state radio said the epicentre of the quake appeared to be the Sefid Sang district, a remote mountainous area home to 5,000 people some 80 kilometres southeast of Mashhad. It said rescue teams and helicopters had deployed to the area to assess the damage.

Semi-official Iranian news agencies posted videos online of people in the street and pictures of cracks and damage to some buildings.

It described the depth of the quake as only 10km. Shallow earthquakes can cause serious damage.

The US Geological Survey also described the temblor as a 6.1, saying it had a depth of only 13km,.

A magnitude 6 earthquake can cause severe damage.

Iran sits on a series of seismic fault lines and experiences one slight quake a day on average. In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam.

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