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Iran Official Says Recent Quake Not Caused By Volcanic Activity

Mount Damavand, a potentially active volcano 66 km (41 miles) northeast of the Iranian capital Tehran.

An official of Iran's International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES) on Friday said the 5.1 earthquake which also shook the Capital Tehran is not related to Mount Damavand Volcano in the same area.

"This quake is not related to volcanic activity. The Masha seismic fault [apparent source of the quake on Friday] which is the closest to the volcano, has had its own independent [seismic] activity throughout history," Ebrahim Haqshenas, the deputy head of IIEES said on Friday. He added that the fault has caused several major historically documented quakes none of which was accompanied by volcanic activity.

Mount Damavand, a potentially active volcano is 66 km (41 miles) northeast of the city of Tehran in Damavand region which was the epicenter of the quake on Friday.

The last known eruption of Damavand’s volcano happened in 5,300 B.C., but the risk of another eruption is exacerbated by Iran’s frequent earthquakes and intense seismic activity. The Iranian capital is built on ground mainly made up of the lava deposits of Mount Damavand.

In November 2018 a mysterious flash flood in a village at the foot of Mount Damavand with no rain anywhere near the disaster area gave rise to speculations about the volcano coming to life.

The earthquake that hit near the city of Damavand, about 55 kilometers east of the capital Tehran at 00:48 am local time on May 8, measured 4.6 on the Richter scale according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Iranian authorities, however, say the quake was 5.1 in magnitude.

Map of fault lines around Tehran - Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Map of fault lines around Tehran - Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres

There are at least four major seismic faults in Tehran area making the capital very vulnerable to earthquake destruction. The North Tehran Fault, which covers 100 km of urban residential areas in both Tehran and Alborz provinces, is considered as the capital's most destructive fault. The North Tehran Fault appears not to have been responsible for the quake on Friday but might be activated by the seismic activity of Masha Fault.