An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 struck a town in southern Iran Thursday, killing seven people but causing no damage at the country’s only nuclear power plant, state media reported.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor struck some 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) northeast of Borazjan. It hit some 60 kilometers (38 miles) north of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is near the port city of the same name.
The website for state media carried a statement from the plant’s operators saying it sustained no damage in the quake.
Many people fled their homes during the earthquake, fearful the buildings would crash down on them, local media reported. Those living in neighboring provinces also felt the quake.
In April, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake killed at least 37 people and injured hundreds in a town near Bushehr. The nuclear plant wasn’t damaged then.
Iran is located in a zone of tectonic compression where the Arabian plate is moving into the Eurasian plate, leaving more than 90 percent of the country crisscrossed by seismic fault lines.
Nine quakes that hit Iran in the last decades were more than magnitude 6, including a 2003 temblor that killed at least 26,000 people in the city of Bam. Scientists say more fault lines likely will be discovered in the country and more major quakes are only a matter of time.