(Wikipedia) - The 2008 Bandar Abbas earthquake occurred on September, 10, 2008 in the Hormozgan Province, 850 km south of Tehran. Its epicenter was 26.743°N 55.828°E near Noghasha south of the Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf, where an earthquake two years before had caused damage. The earthquake measured 6.1 on the Moment magnitude scale and 6 on the surface wave scale, killing seven people and injuring up to 47. Causing both catastrophic and minor damage, the earthquake devastated up to 200 villages throughout southern Iran, but left the port city of Bandar Abbas almost unscathed. Citizens reportedly panicked when the earthquake hit, emptying into the parks of the city and other open areas.
Iran's earthquake history reaches as far back as 856 AD, and involves at least 29 documented earthquakes. Each sector of the country has experienced seismic activity, varying from minor to great events.
Earthquakes in Iran are almost exclusively confined to the upper lithosphere (crust), placing them relatively near the surface. Iran hosts multiple fault lines; roughly 90% of the country is seismically active. The earthquake had a depth of 15 km.
The earthquake posed a threat to all of Bandar Abbas' oil companies, as well as at least one highly productive and expensive refinery at the time of the earthquake. Because of past earthquakes, including one in 2006, many of the city's homes had been rebuilt and outfitted with seismically engineered designs. The major oil refinery did not sustain damage, according to Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, the vice-president of investment affairs for National Iranian Oil Company.
Damage and casualties
The earthquake occurred at 3:00 pm local time and was followed by up to seventeen aftershocks. The main shock lasted at least 30 seconds. Qeshm Island reported 15 injured; its homes were constructed from earthquake-resistant material. The earthquake was felt throughout southern Iran, causing slight to moderate damage. Mercalli scale ratings of IV (moderate) were assigned to Ajman and Ra's al Khaymah, and intensity III (slight) damage occurred in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah. Doha in Qatar also reported the earthquake.
Though major locations held up well against the earthquake, most villages did not. From Qeshm Island came reports of power outage and minor damage; 100 houses in all of Qeshm were damaged between 30 and 50 percent. 200 villages were devastated by the earthquake's velocity. Walls in the Zeynabi Village were leveled; all were reduced by the earthquake to debris. Relief workers were sent to rescue any residents from their homes if they had been caught under debris.