French and Iranian researchers have teamed up to find out what triggered the mysterious recent flash flood in Gazanak village at the foot of mount Damavand, 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of the capital, Tehran.
At 5,610 meters (roughly 18,400 feet) above sea level, Damavand is the highest peak in the Middle East and the highest volcano in Asia.
The Iranian-French team is studying recent activity inside Damavand’s volcano, said renowned Iranian seismologist Mehdi Zare’, in the hopes of gaining some insight into what caused a massive flood in August of water originating from the mountain that inundated the village of Gazanak below.
The flood occurred suddenly when there was no heavy rain anywhere near the disaster area.
This video clip shows the sudden flash flood coming down the mountain In August.
At the time, several experts pointed at climate change and global warming, insisting that it had led to a sudden melting of the snow and huge glaciers on Damavand, ultimately causing the flood.
The Iranian-French team is currently weighing that theory as well, Zare’ says.
Meanwhile, Zare' and his French counterpart from the university of Strasbourg, Jacques Hinderer, are also trying to find out about the recent unexplained magnetic and gravitational changes on Mount Damavand.
Professor Zare' has repeatedly cautioned that Damavand’s location so near the Iranian capital and in the middle of such a densely populated area needs constant monitoring, as it could erupt at any time.
The last known eruption of Damavand’s volcano was in 5,300 B.C., but the risk of another eruption is exacerbated by Iran’s frequent earthquakes and intense seismic activity.
Tehran itself sits on soil, mostly made up of lava deposits from Damavand's eruptions in the past.
In 2005, the UN rated Iran as the number one country in the world for earthquakes, whether measured in intensity, frequency, or the number of casualties.