New Seismic Fault Identified in Tehran

The North Tehran fault is one of the capital’s most destructive.The North Tehran fault is one of the capital’s most destructive.

The North Tehran fault, that was so far considered the largest seismic fault line in the capital, now is second with the discovery of a new one in the center of Tehran.

Extending from east to west the fault runs past Milad Tower and is capable of seismic activity with high potential for damage and displacement in the event of an earthquake, said Jalil Ghalamghash, deputy at Iran’s Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration, the Persian newspaper Shahrvand reported.  

Previously four major faults were identified around Tehran, including Mosha-Fesham, North Tehran fault and South and North Rey faults. According to experts, Mosha-Fesham and Rey faults are susceptible to a Richter 7+ magnitude earthquake.

The North Tehran fault which covers 100 km of urban residential areas in both Tehran and Alborz Provinces is one of the capital’s most destructive. More than two million people in Tehran and one million in Alborz Province reside within the fault zone.

Authorities have developed fault maps for the capital’s 22 districts. But they apparently need to be revised as new faults are discovered and the existing ones change in size.

With a population of over 8 million people, Tehran city, along with Istanbul, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Jakarta, is among the world’s top 5 populous cities that are prone to severe damage if a major quake occurs.

The recent discovery has heightened concerns about a possible quake in the metropolis. The population density and the large number of old and non-resistant buildings increase the chances of mass destruction in the event of a high-intensity tremor in the capital. Statistics show that currently 1.1 million people in the metropolis live in old and dilapidated buildings.

Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, as it straddles several major fault lines that cover at least 90% of the country. As a result tremors occur often, some of which have been destructive, causing huge damage to life and property. The 2004 Bam earthquake in southeastern Iran killed 26,270 people and injured 30,000, and the historic town was almost ruined. 

In the past decade, of the 46,969 quakes of over two Richter registered in the country, 45 were above 5.5 magnitude on the logarithmic scale.