Over 170 hurt after magnitude 6.3 earthquake rattles western Iran

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck western Iran near its border with Iraq on Sunday night, injuring over 170 people and sending fearful residents running into the street, authorities said.

The temblor hit near Sarpol-e Zahab in Iran's Kermanshah province, which was the epicenter of an earthquake last year that killed over 600 people and where some still remain homeless.

Morteza Salimi of Iran's Red Crescent told Iranian state television that 171 people were injured, most of them slightly. Kermanshah provincial Gov. Houshang Bazvand similarly said there were injuries, but few people hospitalized.

Authorities said six rescue teams were immediately deployed after the quake stopped and the country's army and its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard were responding.

The location of the earthquake in Western Iran on Sunday.

The location of the earthquake in Western Iran on Sunday. (USGS)

Officials reported damage at buildings both in town and in rural Kermanshah, as well as to some roadways. The temblor also downed powerlines and caused power outages into the night as temperatures hovered around 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

The quake struck just after 8 p.m. in Iran, meaning most were still awake at the time and able to quickly flee.

The 6.3 earthquake had a depth of 6.2 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Iran state TV gave the depth as 3.1 miles. Such shallow earthquakes have broader damage.

The earthquake was felt as far away as the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Iran is located on major seismic faults and experiences an earthquake per day on average. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam in southern Iran, killing 26,000 people.

Last year's earthquake near Sarpol-e Zahab, a predominantly Kurdish town, had a magnitude of 7.3 and injured more than 9,000 people. The region, nestled in the Zagros Mountains, largely rebuilt in recent decades after Iran and Iraq's ruinous 1980s war, saw many buildings collapse or sustain major damage in the 2017 quake.

Sarpol-e Zahab, some 325 miles southwest of the Iranian capital of Tehran, suffered half of the 2017 temblor's casualties.