Photos reveal extreme damage after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Iraq and Iran

A damaged building is seen following an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, Iran.

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A damaged building is seen following an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, Iran.
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Reuters

A deadly earthquake shook the mountains along the northern border between Iran and Iraq Sunday evening, sending locals scrambling into the streets and rushing to recover neighbors trapped under the rubble.

The magnitude 7.3 quake killed more than 400 people, according to Reuters, and triggered landslides that have hindered rescue efforts.

Here’s what it looks like on the ground.


The earthquake hit Iraqi Kurdistan on Sunday evening, shortly after 9 p.m. local time.

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A man walks past a damaged building following an earthquake in Darbandikhan in Sulaimaniya Governorate, Iraq.
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Reuters

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck about 20 miles (32 km) south of the northeastern Iraqi city of Halabja.


Reuters reports more than 400 people have died in Iran, and at least six people have died in Iraq.


The quake shook the ground as far away as Baghdad, roughly 200 miles away from the epicenter.

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A man reacts following an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, Iran November 13, 2017.
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Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

“I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,” Majida Ameer, who ran out of her building in the capital’s Salihiya district with her three children told Reuters. “I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming, ‘Earthquake!'”


Many in the region live in housing that’s not fit for the extreme shaking. Rescuers are scrambling to find people trapped under the rubble.


“So far, 114 aftershocks have been reported in Iran. People are staying outdoors fearing additional damages,” the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a tweet on Monday.

The organization said it is working to distribute tents, blankets, heaters, beds, and food to those affected.


The Zagros Mountains, where the quake happened, stretch from southern Iran up into Turkey, and touch much of the northern border between Iraq and Iran.

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A star denotes the spot where the US Geological Survey says the earthquake happened on Sunday night.
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US Geological Survey

The region is on what’s called a ‘fold and thrust’ belt, where two tectonic plates collide. In this area, the Arabia plate is being subducted under the continental Eurasia plate.

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The Zagros fold-and-thrust belt runs 1,100 miles from Turkey to the Persian Gulf.
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Mike Norton – Wikimedia Commons

The region where these two plates collide is rich in oil fields. In 2007, geologists estimated that as much as 7% of the world’s oil came from the area around this fold-and-thrust belt.


This is the fourth fatal earthquake to hit Iran this year. And it’s by far the deadliest: the other three each had death counts in the single digits.

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A man looks at a damaged building in the town of Darbandikhan, Iraq following an earthquake on Oct. 12, 2017.
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Ako Rasheed – Reuters

It’s known as one of the most seismically active regions in the world.

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A wounded boy is treated following an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, Iran.
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REUTERS/Tasnim News Agency

The Arabian plate is moving north with respect to the Eurasia plate at a speed of roughly 2 cm per year, according to the USGS.


The last time an earthquake this deadly hit Iran was in 2005. More than 600 people were killed that February.

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Iranian men find the dead body of a young boy in the rubble on February 24, 2005 in Houdkan, 700 km southeast of Tehran.
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Getty Images

The USGS says it’s likely this disaster will cost upwards of $100 million.

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A man carries his belongings following an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah, Iran.
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Reuters