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Iran quake death toll rises


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CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr reports on the aftermath of the earthquake.
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(CNN) -- The death toll from Friday's strong earthquake in northern Iran has risen to 45, with over 200 wounded, according to state-run Iranian television reports.

Fearing another earthquake, many Iranians spent Friday night in nearby parks hours after the 6.3-magnitude quake jolted their homes about 70 km (45 miles) north of Tehran, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake, which rumbled to life Friday about 5:10 p.m., was centered between the capital and the Caspian Sea, according to both the USGS and the Geological Survey of Iran.

"It lasted for eight seconds, and we were so afraid that we thought maybe the building would fall down," said one resident.

"We have seen the earthquake in Bam. Now we are so afraid and have decided to sleep in the park overnight."

Iran's state-run news agency, IRNA, reported at least 64 aftershocks shook the region for 12 hours after the initial quake.

The USGS measured one aftershock at 4.3 in magnitude, which hit the same area about an hour after the temblor, but caused no casualties.

Officials in the city of Noor said five people had been killed and 20 injured. Two additional deaths were reported outside Noor by other Iranian officials.

Officials in the Interior Ministry said 16 people were killed and 70 injured on the road between Tehran and the Caspian Sea.

It is the first major quake to hit Iran since last December's 6.6 magnitude event that virtually destroyed the ancient city of Bam, killing more than 25,000 people.

Friday's quake was centered much deeper than the Bam quake -- 26 km (16 miles) instead of a relatively shallow 10 km (6 miles). Bam is about 990 km (610 miles) southeast of Tehran.

However, it struck in an urban area where the buildings are more structurally sound than the mud huts that were destroyed in Bam.

Journalist Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this story


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