7.2 magnitude earthquake jolts Iran-Iraq border area

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state TV says a 7.2-magnitude earthquake has jolted the region near the border between Iran and Iraq.

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the quake on its website, placing its epicenter at around 32km (19 miles) outside the Iraqi city of Halabja, and issuing an “orange” alert for “shaking-related fatalities and economic losses.”

The semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency reported that at least 14 provinces had been impacted earthquake.

Iranian social media was abuzz with posts of people evacuating their homes, especially from the cities of Ghasr-e Shirin (near Iraqi border) and Kermanshah.

Faramarz Akbari, Ghasr-e Shirin’s governor, said that six people had died and scores more injured, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Esmail Najar, head of Iran’s National Disaster Management Organization, said “some injured people might be buried under the rubble in Ghasr-e Shirin”.

Iran is prone to near daily quakes as it sits on many major fault lines. In 2003, a 6.6 magnitude flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

UPDATE

A powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the region along the border between Iran and Iraq on Sunday, killing at least 61 people and injuring 300 in Iran, an Iranian official said.

Iranian state TV said Iraqi officials had reported six deaths and 200 injuries inside Iraq, though there was no official comment from Iraq’s government.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja.

The Islamic Republic of Iran News Network quoted the head of the country’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, as saying at least 61 had been killed and 300 injured on Iran’s side of the border.

Iranian state TV also said Iraqi officials reported at least six people dead inside Iraq, along with more than 50 people injured in Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 in Khanaquin city. No reports were immediately available from Iraq’s government.

Koulivand earlier told a local television station that the earthquake knocked out electricity in Iran’s western cities of Mehran and Ilam. He also said 35 rescue teams were providing assistance.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a phone call with the Interior Ministry emphasized the need for maximum effort from officials.

Iranian social media was abuzz Sunday night with posts of people evacuating their homes, particularly in Kermanshah and Ghasr-e Shirin.

The semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake.

Officials announced that schools in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces would be closed Monday because of the tremor.

Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

HERE COMES THE SOLAR WIND (AGAIN): A wedge-shaped hole in the sun’s atmosphere has opened and it is spewing solar wind into space. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is monitoring the gap, shown here facing Earth on Nov. 12th:
This a a coronal hole–a region where the sun’s magnetic field peels back and allows solar wind to escape. An emerging stream of gaseous material is expected to reach Earth on Nov. 14th or 15th.
Fun fact: This coronal hole is connected to another coronal hole that lashed Earth with solar wind on Nov. 7th, sparking Northern Lights in the USA as far south as Nebraska. Could it happen again? NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the solar wind arrives. Auroras will probably be confined to the Arctic, but the events of Nov. 7th show that pleasant surprises are possible

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