TEHRAN -- A strong earthquake struck southeastern Iran on early Thursday afternoon, seismologists said, but there was no immediate word on damage or casualties.
The 6.0-magnitude earthquake at 12.08 p.m. local time (0838 GMT) was centered about 45 kilometers (27 miles) from Mohammad abad-e rigan in Kerman Province. It struck about 24 kilometers (15 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Iranian Seismological Center.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the strength of the earthquake at 5.8 on the Richter scale, slightly weaker than Iran's estimate. The USGS estimated that some people may have felt very strong shaking, while some 209,000 others may have felt moderate to strong shaking.
It was not immediately known if there was damage or if there were any casualties as a result of the earthquake, but earthquakes - even light and moderate ones - often cause heavy damage and severe casualties in certain parts of the country due to poor construction, especially when they hit during the night when most residents are sleeping.
Most recently, on December 20, at least seven people were killed and hundreds more were injured when a strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) from the town of Hosein abad in Kerman Province, southeastern Iran.
Other recent earthquakes include a light 4.9-magnitude quake on November 6 that rattled western Iran, approximately 17 kilometers (10 miles) from Dorood in Luristan Province. It struck about 5 kilometers (3 miles) deep, leaving 119 people injured.
And on August 27, two young children were killed and more than a dozen others were injured when a moderate 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck 76 kilometers (47 miles) from Damghan, a city in the country's Semnan Province.
Before that, in November 2009, a light 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, injuring more than 700 people. In 2003, on December 26, around 31,000 people were killed and more than 30,000 others were injured when a strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck near Bam. It left the area devastated with 85 percent of buildings damaged or destroyed in Bam.
(BNO NEWS )