updated 2/28/2006 4:31:02 AM ET 2006-02-28T09:31:02

An earthquake of magnitude 5.9 jolted southern Iran on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The temblor struck at 11:01 local time and was centered in an area about 600 miles southeast of the capital Tehran, the USGS said on its Web site. The epicenter was about 80 miles from the nearest sizable city — Bandar-e Abbas, on Iran’s coast.

The earthquake was classified as moderate, but such quakes have killed thousands of people in the past in the Iranian countryside where houses are often built of bricks.

In February 2005, a 6.4-magnitude temblor rocked the town of Zarand in southern Iran, killing 612 people and injuring more than 1,400. A magnitude-6.6 quake flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam in the same region in December 2003, killing 26,000 people.

Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one slight quake every day on average.

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