NASA maps location and faults of Iran earthquakes

Earthquake locations and faults superimposed on a digital elevation map
Credit: NASA/Jesse Allen/U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

On August 11, 2012 two strong earthquakes shook Iran. The NASA Earth Observatory image shows earthquake locations, magnitudes and faults that are superimposed on a digital elevation map, made from the ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model Version 2 (GDEM2) using earthquake and plate tectonics data from the USGS Earthquake Hazard Program.

The two earthquakes were separated only by 11 minutes and 10 kilometers. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) explained that they occurred in the crust of the Eurasian Plate. In this region, the Arabian Plate moves around 26 millimeters per year northward with respect to the Eurasian Plate, but USGS stated that these earthquakes happened about 300 kilometers east of the plate boundary. Probably the events occurred due to an oblique strike-slip fault, where blocks of Earth slide past each other, but because of the location was so far from a plate boundary it is difficult to give accurate explanation.