POSTED: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 4:01pm
CNN — At last 40 people are feared dead in Iran following a powerful earthquake near its border with Pakistan, Iran's state-run Press TV reported Tuesday, citing local reports.
The earthquake was preliminarily measured at 7.8 magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The epicenter was 53 miles east-southeast of the Iranian town of Khash, 103 miles northeast of Iranshahr and 123 miles south-east of Zahedan, according to the USGS.
Shafiq Ahmed, an official with Pakistan's metreological department, told CNN the tremor, which he put at magnitude 7.9, struck inside southern Iran, near the border with Pakistan.
Tremors were felt in southern Pakistan, including the city of Karachi, and across Balochistan province from Gwadar on the southern coast to Quetta and the border with Iran.
Carrieann Bedwell, a USGS seismologist, said a 7.8 magnitude earthquake was "a large event for any area" and could be expected to cause damage in inhabited places.
Aftershocks can be expected for days or weeks after a quake of the magnitude, she said.
The earthquake was felt as far away as Abu Dhabi, where buildings shook for 40 seconds or more, but it's not yet clear what damage has been caused across the region.
The earthquake was measured at a preliminary depth of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles.)