By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:59 PM EDT, Sat August 11, 2012
A series of strong aftershocks followed two initial earthquakes
State media said some buildings in Tabriz were damaged
Iran has been prone to devastating earthquakes
Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- At least 87 people were killed and another 600 injured in two strong earthquakes that jolted northwestern Iran Saturday near the city of Tabriz, state-run news agencies said.
Officials feared the casualties would rise.
The first earthquake, a magnitude 6.4, hit at 4:53 p.m. local time 37 miles northeast of Tabriz, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Just 11 minutes later a second quake, measuring 6.3, struck 30 miles northeast of Tabriz.
The geological survey recorded six strong aftershocks.
The quakes affected Tabriz, the provincial capital of East Azarbaijan, and nearby cities. It razed four villages and another 60 villages sustained heavy damage, Fars said.
Initial reports said some buildings in Tabriz suffered structural damage and power lines were down. Telephone lines were down in Ahar, the quake's epicenter. The extent of the damage was still being assessed.
Authorities dispatched rescue teams to the area.
Iran sits on major faultlines and has been prone to devastating earthquakes.
In 2003, 30,000 people died in an earthquake in Bam in southeastern Kerman province. In 1990, about 50,000 were killed in a quake that hit near the Caspian Sea.
CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.