Earthquake Levels Bam

January 21, 2004


Provided by: Earth Observatory, NASA GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Earth Observatory; Jim Foster

The remarkable satellite image above was taken over Bam, Iran by Space Imaging’s IKONOS satellite on December 27, 2003, one day after a catastrophic earthquake leveled most of this historic city. IKONOS has a resolution of approximately 1 m. Clearly seen on this image is what remains of the 2,000-year-old citadel, considered the world's largest mud fortress. According to news reports, much of the medieval fortress collapsed during the quake. The citadel had been designated a World Heritage site. Bam is located about 1,000 km (620 miles) southeast of Tehran, the capital of Iran. Upwards of 30,000 people were reported killed, and 70% of the buildings in Bam were destroyed by this powerful 6.7 magnitude earthquake. Interestingly, even though this earthquake was by far the deadliest in 2003, it was not considered a major earthquake since its magnitude was less than 7.0.

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