Massive earthquake in Balochistan
April 16, 2013 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Dawn reports that the largest earthquake to hit Iran in 40 years struck the Balochistan region along the Iran-Pakistan border. At least 45 people are dead, but that figure is expected to rise. Earthquaketrack says it was 7.8 on the Richter scale. At emptywheel, Jim White notes that two smaller Iranian earthquakes last year killed over 300 people.
posted by Area Man (26 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by drezdn at 6:14 AM on April 16, 2013


My co-workers in New Delhi had to leave their building for a few minutes so it was felt at least that far away.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:18 AM on April 16, 2013


37 killed last week in a previous earthquake near Bushehr, Iran. No reported damage to the reactor there.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:21 AM on April 16, 2013


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Sounds massive and terrifying.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:29 AM on April 16, 2013


With how tenuous life is, and how easilly it is lost or destroyed, it routiuenly staggers me how much effort we put towards violently ending lives or making them miserable. Rather than, say, elevating them and making it easier.
posted by edgeways at 6:31 AM on April 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Felt it in Dubai.
posted by ambient2 at 6:32 AM on April 16, 2013


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posted by Foosnark at 6:33 AM on April 16, 2013


The region also apparently has it's own ongoing conflict.
posted by Artw at 6:51 AM on April 16, 2013


[I just left the same note in the other thread, but "Which tragedy is worse?" is a game without winners. Metadiscussion goes to the contact form, or to MetaTalk if you must.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:56 AM on April 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's the USGS page. One of the things it includes is an estimate of casualties and losses based on the Mercalli intensity (a measure of shaking strength) in populated areas. There are a couple of curious geological aspects -- the focus was about 80 km deep, putting it in the lithosphere rather than the crust, and faulting was extensional rather than compressional.
posted by irrelephant at 7:08 AM on April 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


It always surprises me that news services issue "initial death tolls" within hours of events like this. It implies that there is some emergency services person wasting time making meaningless tallies for the media that will already be wildly out of date and that nobody is going to believe. It is OK to just say "death toll, unknown".
posted by rongorongo at 7:12 AM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been keeping an eye on Aljazeera especially to try to keep up with any news or updates on this, and it seems like maybe there is less info available than there would be typically? I expected that they would have a liveblog happening, which I haven't found yet, though they are definitely covering it. This timeline of major earthquakes in Iran is scary, though it's difficult for me to compare population densities in areas there, but some of the death statistics are pretty shocking.

Anyway, my husband is currently working on a film with a group of lovely Iranian ex-pats from Paris, so I've been paying particular attention to this.
posted by taz at 7:17 AM on April 16, 2013


For comparison, here is a study of the Bam earthquake of 2003, also in southeastern Iran, with photos of how the damage affected buildings, neighborhoods, etc.
posted by gimonca at 7:27 AM on April 16, 2013


I have a photo album, bought at an estate sale, that once belonged to an English family in the 1930s. They were from Oxford, but the father was military, and the album documents their sea voyage to what was, at the time, India, and their life there. It's all very colonial-- Major Dalrymple's bungalow, men in drag at the Christmas pantomime, locals doing tricks on horseback.

They were stationed in Balochistan, and there is a section of the album devoted to the aftermath of the 1935 earthquake, which killed tens of thousands and devastated the region. It's strange to think about how much the way we react to these events has changed, and how much, at the same time, it hasn't. At least modern building techniques mean the death tolls can be far lower.

I need to figure out a way to get good-quality scans of the photos in the album without damaging it. It's too big to fit in a flatbed, and can't be flattened out enough anyway, and the photos are all glued in. But there aren't a lot of surviving photos of that quake, and I'd like to get them archived.
posted by nonasuch at 7:59 AM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by c'mon sea legs at 8:11 AM on April 16, 2013


I'm a little confused. Was there an earthquake yesterday and today? Either way, I truly hope that the death tolls are nowhere near as high as they were for Bam.
posted by Partario at 8:31 AM on April 16, 2013


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posted by lalochezia at 8:31 AM on April 16, 2013


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posted by shakespeherian at 9:04 AM on April 16, 2013


The region is riddled with fault lines so tremors are commonplace. There have pretty strong ones in recent years. Unfortunately, the homes are as earthquake proof as they are going be to people with little means. Thank god, it's springtime as survivors and rescuers will hopefully not be dealing with freezing conditions.
posted by nikitabot at 9:33 AM on April 16, 2013


The tremors were gentle but longish in Lahore. News is still coming out about casualties in the Pakistani part of Baluchistan. The Irani government first said it was expecting hundreds of casualties, then said none have been reported so far. Many many homes have been destroyed, mostly mud huts. At least one building collapse has been reported in Quetta, but it's pretty hard to get confirmed reports yet. The media in Pakistan is also trying to deal with coverage of multiple attacks on election campaign convoys and rallies, one of which has led to at least 16 fatalities.

It's been a tough day.
posted by bardophile at 12:49 PM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are a couple of curious geological aspects -- the focus was about 80 km deep, putting it in the lithosphere rather than the crust, and faulting was extensional rather than compressional.

I just want to correct the science on this. The crust is part of the lithosphere -- the lithosphere, by definition, is composed of the crust and upper mantle. But indeed, 80 km deep would be in the upper mantle.

And are you saying that it's unusual for tensional (extensional) forces to cause earthquakes, or just in that area?

Was there an earthquake yesterday and today?
According to the USGS earthquake map, today. There was a 7.8 earthquake at 10:44 UTC, and aftershocks of 4.1 and 4.7 at 13:54 and 20:43.

Hope any area Mefites are ok.
posted by DoubleLune at 2:53 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nthing the thoughts and well wishes
posted by chapps at 5:18 PM on April 16, 2013


The NY Times is reporting that Iranian sources are indicating that the depth of the earthquake and remote location of the epicenter resulted in far fewer deaths than were anticipated this morning. I hope that's true.
posted by Area Man at 6:07 PM on April 16, 2013




Pakistan troops in rescue effort after quake. (re:the Balochistan quake)
posted by bardophile at 6:59 AM on April 21, 2013


Re: Balochistan's situation in general, an opinion piece after the earthquake.
posted by bardophile at 7:00 AM on April 21, 2013


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