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The Historical Record of Earthquakes in Persia

part 2

iran-quake

Historical (pre-1900) earthquakes

Historical records of catastrophic earthquakes have survived for centuries. At least nine destructive earthquakes in Nishapur/Sadyak have reduced the size and changed the location of the city several times (Melville, 1980, pp. 116-17).

Ray has been devastated at least six times in its recorded history (Ambraseys, 1974, pp. 50-68; Berberian et al., 1985, pp. 221-30, 287). Almost all monuments in Tabriz were destroyed or severely damaged by at least eight large-magnitude earthquakes, especially by the one on 29 Du'l-Hejja 1193/7 January 1780, which reduced all buildings to rubble. Unfortunately, except for the Blue Mosque (Masjed-e-Mozaffarya) built in 870/1465, the city now has very few historical monuments (Tabatabaei-Tabrizi, 1294/1877, p. 121; Berberian and Arshadi, 1976, pp. 397-418; Melville, 1981, p. 167; Golombeck and Wilber,1988, pp. 31, 407-409). Table 44 below lists the most important historical earthquakes in the Iranian plateau. (For more precise information, see Ambraseys and Melville, 1982, pp. 158-62; Berberian, 1994, pp. 11-413; Figure 32.)

20th-century earthquakes. Since the beginning of this century at least 126,000 people have lost their lives in destructive earthquakes in Persia. These losses cannot be justified in light of existing scientific knowledge and expertise in disaster management. Table 45 lists the most important earthquakes in Persia since 1900.

The Tabas-e-Golshan earthquake of 25 Shahrivar 1357/16 September 1978 (Ms=7.4; Berberian, 1979, pp. 1861-87; 1982, pp.449-530) and the Rudbar-Tarom earthquake of 31 Khordad 1369/20 June 1990 (Ms=7.4; Berberian et al., 1992, pp. 1726-55) were the most catastrophic earthquakes to have occurred in Persia to date in the 20th century. The Tabas-e-Golshan earthquake destroyed or severely damaged about ninety villages, slightly damaged another fifty villages in the region, and completely demolished the oasis town of Tabas-e-Golshan, where 85 percent of the inhabitants (11,000 out of 13,000) perished. Total fatalities were more than 20,000 with thousands injured. This earthquake, strongly felt over an area of 1,130,000 square km, destroyed over 15,000 housing units and thirty qanats (q.v.) in the epicentral region (Berberian, 1989, pp. 1861-87). The Rudbar-Tarom earthquake, the largest in this century to affect an urban area in Persia, killed over 40,000 people, injured 60,000, and left more than 500,000 homeless. The earthquake destroyed three towns (Rudbar, Manjil, and Lowshan) and 700 villages and damaged another 300 villages in Gilan and Zanjan provinces of northwest Persia, southwest of the Caspian Sea. Nearly 100,000 buildings were destroyed or badly damaged. Water supplies in 283 villages were destroyed or reduced by 70 percent, several thousand livestock were buried under debris, and farms and irrigation canals were seriously damaged. In addition, 1,200 km of rural roads now require repair or reconstruction (Berberian et al., 1992, pp. 1726-55). Economic losses caused by this earthquake have been estimated at $7.2 billion, constituting 7.2 percent of the GNP (UNESCO, DHA News, Department of Humanitarian Affairs, 1992, p. 30). The long-term effects of this catastrophic event, such as the disruption of major economic links between three large provinces, the resettlement of populations from at least three large towns and 700 villages, and the reconstruction of buildings according to modern standards will take decades to accomplish and will absorb a considerable part of the country’s resources.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com


Other Links:

Caspian Seal (part 1)

Caspian Seal (part 2)

Caspian Seal (part 3)

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