The quake sent ripples across Iran’s north shortly after midnight local time on Friday, striking at a shallow depth of just 7 km, less than 10 km (6.2 mi) north of the city of Damavand. The city is located 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.
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.
Though the volcano is considered dormant, fumaroles have been occasionally spotted around its summit, suggesting that Davamand is potentially active.
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.
The researchers warned the world was completely unprepared for the scale of damage such an eruption can cause, including unprecedented amounts of death, destruction and migration on a global scale.