Deadly Iran-Iraq earthquake damages Darbandikhan Dam

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake that hit the border region between Iraq and Iran yesterday has killed more than 400 people, injured more than 6,600 and caused cracks in Darbandikhan Dam.

Darbandikhan Dam is on the Diyala River in the northern As Sulaymaniyah Governate of Iraq. It was completed in 1961 and is a rockfill embankment dam with a central clay core. The dam is 420 feet tall and 1,460 feet long. The dam’s purposes are irrigation, flood control, hydroelectric power production and recreation. The 249-MW power station was commissioned in 1990 and contains three 83-MW Francis turbine-generator units. In 2013, repairs were completed related to damage from bombing in 1990.

The dam has suffered cracking, and landslides are reported to have pushed rocks and rubble onto the spillway. News agency NRT reported the earthquake” left many vertical and horizontal cracks in the upper part of the 55-year-old dam, one of which is about 450 meters long.” NRT says that Rahman Khani, head of Darbandikhan Dam, has halted electricity production for the time but that the water levels behind the dam have not decreased so far.

BBC News has collected video footage of the earthquake occurring at the dam and some of the aftermath.

The dam is owned by the Ministry of Water Resources.

Nearby Mosul Dam is reported to be undamaged.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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