A 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit close to a sleeping volcano in northern Iran.
Panicked residents in and around Tehran rush onto the streets despite lockdown.
The very shallow quake (7km or 4.3 miles), downgraded from M5.1 to M4.6 sent ripples across Iran’s north shortly after midnight local time on Friday.
It struck north of the city of Damavand, very close to Mount Damavand, the second-highest volcano in Asia.
The dormant volcano sits some 70 km (43 mi) north-east of the Iranian capital Tehran, where locals reported moderate to severe shaking from the Friday morning tremor.
Photos and videos have emerged on social media showing residents flooding the streets in the aftermath of the quake.
Iranian emergency services said that at least two people died and 13 were injured in the ensuing chaos.
5,1 magnitude earthquake hits area near #Iran's capital Tehran.— EHA News (@eha_news) May 7, 2020
▪️People in the city have hit the streets following the quake as auhorities urge everyone to maintain social distance.pic.twitter.com/c5IEU1iZ86
Several stadiums and city parks were reportedly prepared to temporarily shelter people that abruptly left their homes.
Is Davamand waking up?
The proximity of Mount Davamand to the epicenter of the quake has sparked fears that the volcano, with its last major eruption being some 7,300 year ago, could wake up from its extended sleep.
Although the volcano is considered dormant, fumaroles have been occasionally spotted around its summit, suggesting that Davamand is potentially active.
Mount Damavand is active.— Farhang F. Namdar (@FarhangNamdar) April 28, 2020
Located in Tehran, Iran, the volcanic mountain might repute at any time since it has broken its silence and has shown sings of activity. pic.twitter.com/4cgpvWgQFz
In 2018, a team of volcanologists predicted that Mount Davamand was a potential candidate for a cataclysmic volcanic eruption designated as a ‘VEI-7’ level event that takes place once or twice every thousand years.
But we are unprepared for the next eruption: