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Chris Rowan Writes About Iran’s Earthquakes So I Don’t Have To


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You know, it’s hard being a self-educated science blogger with a day job. Important geology stuff happens, and by the time I’ve got the research all done and ready, it’s old news. That’s why I don’t stay as on top of current events as I possibly should (but if Mount St. Helens wakes up, I’m so ready!). Such as Iran. Iran’s getting slammed with earthquakes right now. And I’d love to explain that to you, but what I know about earthquakes off the top of my head would fill a thimble with room left over.

However. This is not a problem when Chris Rowan is around. He knows earthquakes. He’s on top of the story. If you want to know all about Iran’s rather frightful plate tectonic situation, click this link:

Squashed and squeezed between the Eurasian continent to the north and the northward-moving Arabian plate to the south, it is no surprise that Iran is a seismically active country, and in the past week it has been living up to expectations. Last Tuesday, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake at 10 km depth shook the western Bushehr region on the coast of the Persian Gulf; this Tuesday, a much larger magnitude 7.8 rupture occurred in the western province of Sistan Baluchistan, near the border with Pakistan.

After reading that post, I’m coming close to filling my thimble. Still, I don’t know as much as I should yet. But I’ll tell you what I do know, and have known for some time:

We live on a seismically restless planet, and we need to know what it’s up to so we know how to prevent needless death and suffering. The more awareness spreads, the better off the world is.

The city of Bam on the evening of 13 January 2004, some two weeks after the devastating earthquake that destroyed large parts of the city and killed ten thousands of inhabitants. © UNICEF Iran, Shehzad Noorani. Published under license CC BY-ND 2.0.

The city of Bam on the evening of 13 January 2004, some two weeks after the devastating earthquake that destroyed large parts of the city and killed ten thousands of inhabitants. © UNICEF Iran, Shehzad Noorani. Published under license CC BY-ND 2.0.

This is why preparing cities for earthquakes is critical in these areas where the plates move and the earth shakes is so urgent. If you live in one of those zones, help educate your local government on the importance of earthquake preparedness. You could save lives.

Dana Hunter About the Author: Dana Hunter is a science blogger, SF writer, and geology addict whose home away from SciAm is En Tequila Es Verdad. Follow her on Twitter: @dhunterauthor. Follow on Twitter @dhunterauthor.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. M Tucker 3:47 pm 04/17/2013

    The Old World and earthquakes…Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, China, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and may more Old World countries have know about their seismic risk for thousands of years. They still either continue to build homes the old fashioned way or they continue to live in homes built of unreinforced masonry or mud bricks. China might now be building safer homes but based on their surprise to find that coal and autos pollute the air I do not trust their judgment. “If you live in one of those zones, help educate your local government on the importance of earthquake preparedness.” Yeah, did you hear that citizens of Iran? Get off your ass and pen a letter to the Ayatollah or Supreme Leader and let him know your feelings! I wonder which is better, death by slow torture or death by mud brick house collapse?

    Link to this

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