The Middle East is crisscrossed by several major fault lines which produce earthquake activity. Turkey, which has suffered several major earthquakes in recent years, has two such faults: one running along the north of the country, another through the south and east.
Following is a list of some of the worst quakes over the past four decades.
22 June, 2002: Qazvin and Hamedan provinces in western Iran: 235 dead, 1300 injured (magnitude 6.3).
10 May, 1997: Birjand, eastern Iran: 1613 dead, 3712 injured (magnitude 7.1).
Residents of Bam carry the body of a victim after the latest earthquake
28 Feb, 1997: Ardbil region in northwestern Iran: 965 dead and 2,600 injured, according to an official toll. Aid agencies put the toll at 1,100 dead (magnitude 5.5).
21 June, 1990: Northwestern Iran: About 37,000 killed and more than 100,000 injured in Ghilan and Zandjan provinces in the deadliest and most powerful quake to hit the country, with a magnitude of 7.7. The quake devastated 27 towns and about 1870 villages.
11 June, 1981: Kerman province in southeastern Iran: 1028 dead and 950 injured, with the city of Golbaf hit the hardest. On 28 July, another 1300 were killed in a second quake in the same region.
16 Sept, 1978: Eastern Iran: 25,000 killed. The city of Tabass is destroyed, with 15,000 dead there alone.
10 April, 1972: Ghir region in the southern Iranian province of Fars: 5044 killed and 1336 severely injured. Forty-five villages destroyed.
31 Aug, 1968: Khorasan province in northeastern Iran: About 10,000 dead.
1 Sept, 1962: Qazvin, west of Tehran: 12,000 killed and 200 villages destroyed. **** Bam goes on heritage list Friday 24 December 2004, 8:39 Makka Time, 5:39 GMT
The once magnificent city was reduced to rubble A ceremony is to be held in the destroyed Iranian city of Bam to mark the earthquake that struck there one year ago and celebrate the city's inclusion on Unesco's list of World Heritage sites.
The UN cultural organisation said the ceremony was due to take place on Monday.
The historic city on the ancient silk route was turned to rubble by a deadly quake on 26 December 2003 that killed almost 31,000 people and left 75,000 homeless.
Unesco said the ceremony would be attended by its deputy director-general for culture, Munir Bushenaki, and by Iranian Vice-President Hussain Marashi.
It said that, as the organisation spearheading international efforts for the cultural survival of Bam, Unesco would use the occasion to stress the need for international solidarity.
Meanwhile, it said an international conference would be held in collaboration with the Italian government in the second half of next year to mobilise support for the restoration of the city.
In Paris, officials said a Franco-Iranian committee set up in the wake of the disaster to channel aid has raised more than 2.8 million euros ($3.8 million), most of which will be spent on re-equipping the city's hospital.
Some of the money will also be spent on creating a mobile seismic detection network and creating a detailed digital map of Bam to help in reconstruction.
Emeril's parents came from Bam.