Iran Experts Raise Bam Quake Magnitude to 6.8
The Housing and Construction Research Center said the analysis of 18 monitoring stations in and near the quake zone showed the quake was not only more powerful than first thought but also that its epicenter was directly under the city.
The pre-dawn earthquake destroyed most of the buildings in Bam, 625 miles southeast of Tehran, and killed an estimated 30,000, although some officials have warned the death toll could rise to 50,000.
"Based on data from 18 monitoring sites in and near Bam we have now retrieved, the earthquake registered 6.8," Jafar Shoja Taheri, head of seismology research at a Mashhad University told state television.
"It is more than the 6.3 previously reported," he said.
The U.S. Geological Survey issued a preliminary report last week saying the Bam quake measured at 6.6 magnitude.
Shoja Taheri, also a member of the state housing and construction research body, said that of the 30 seismological monitoring stations in and near Bam, only 18 have been found.
"One of the monitored sites was located in the Bam governor's office," he added. "That data showed that the earthquake's epicenter was directly beneath Bam."
Some Tehran scientists have said the quake was about 10 miles below the surface. About 90 percent of the mud brick-style buildings in the ancient city were destroyed.
Shoja Taheri said that data were still provisional and further analysis could lead to another revision.
"It will take time to survey and analyze all the data and come to a final conclusion of the magnitude," he said.