6.1 magnitude earthquake near Iran’s Mashhad kills 1

Tehran, A powerful magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck northeastern Iran near the holy city of Mashhad today, killing at least one person as residents fled onto the streets and aftershocks shook the region.

The shallow temblor damaged at least four villages near its epicenter in the Sefid Sang district, a remote mountainous area home to 5,000 people, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Mashhad, state TV’s English-language Press TV channel reported.

It said rescue teams and helicopters had deployed in Iran’s Khorasan Razavi province to the area to assess the damage.

Semi-official Iranian news agencies posted videos online of panicked people in the streets, items falling off store shelves and photos of damaged buildings.

Press TV said at least one person was killed. The semi-official Fars news agency said five people were injured and that mobile phone service and landline telephone lines had been affected.

State media described the depth of the quake as only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Either a shallow earthquakes and or a magnitude 6 temblor on its own can cause serious damage.

The US Geological Survey also described the temblor as a 6.1, saying it had a depth of only 13 kilometers (8 miles).

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.