1948 Ashgabat earthquake

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1948 Ashgabat earthquake
Relief Map of Turkmenistan.png
Green pog.svg
Green pog.svg
Darreh Gaz
UTC  time1948-10-05 20:12:09
ISC  event 897583
Local date6 October 1948 (1948-10-06)
Local time01:12:09 TMT
Magnitude7.3 Ms
Epicenter 37°57′N58°19′E / 37.95°N 58.32°E / 37.95; 58.32 Coordinates: 37°57′N58°19′E / 37.95°N 58.32°E / 37.95; 58.32
Areas affectedSoviet Union (Turkmen SSR)
Max. intensity X (Extreme) [1]
Casualties10,000–110,000 [2]

The 1948 Ashgabat earthquake (Turkmen : 1948 Ашгабат ыер титремеси; 1948 Aşgabat yer titremesi; Russian : Ашхабадское землетрясение 1948 года; Ashkhabadskoye zemletryasenie 1948 goda) occurred on 6 October with a surface wave magnitude of 7.3 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). The shock occurred in Turkmenistan near Ashgabat. Due to censorship by the Turkmen government, the event was not widely reported in the USSR's media. Historians tend to agree that the ban on reporting the extent of the casualties and damage did not allow the Soviet government to allocate enough financial resources to adequately respond. [3]

Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan and the language of the Turkmen peoples of Central Asia. It is a Turkic language spoken by 3.5 million people in Turkmenistan as well as by around 719,000 people in northeastern Iran and 1.5 million people in northwestern Afghanistan. Not all "Turkmen" in northeastern Iran are speakers of Turkmen; many are speakers of Khorasani Turkic.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.

The surface wave magnitude scale is one of the magnitude scales used in seismology to describe the size of an earthquake. It is based on measurements in Rayleigh surface waves that travel primarily along the uppermost layers of the Earth. It is currently used in People's Republic of China as a national standard for categorising earthquakes.



The earthquake struck at 1:12 in the morning on 6 October 1948. The epicenter of the earthquake was located near the small village of Gara-Gaudan, 25 kilometers southwest of Ashgabat. The earthquake caused extreme damage in Ashgabat and nearby villages, where almost all brick buildings collapsed, concrete structures were heavily damaged, and freight trains were derailed. Damage and casualties occurred in Darreh Gaz, Iran. Surface rupture was observed northwest and southeast of Ashgabat. Media sources vary on the number of the casualties, from 10,000 to 110,000, equivalent to almost 10% of the Turkmen SSR's population at the time.

The epicenter, epicentre or epicentrum in seismology is the point on the Earth's surface directly above a hypocenter or focus, the point where an earthquake or an underground explosion originates.

Dargaz City in Razavi Khorasan, Iran

Dargaz is a city and capital of Dargaz County, in Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

According to memoirs of survivors, the city's infrastructure was badly damaged, with the exception of water pipes. Electricity was restored six days after the earthquake. The railway station began functioning on the third day.

This earthquake killed future Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov's mother Gurbansoltan Eje (his father having died during World War II) and the rest of his family, leaving him an orphan. [4] Aid to victims, as well as restoration of basic needs and infrastructure, was provided by the Soviet Army.

Saparmurat Niyazov Turkmen politician in the USSR, first president of independent Turkmenistan

Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov ; 19 February 1940 – 21 December 2006) was a Turkmen politician who served as the leader of Turkmenistan from 1985 until his death in 2006. He was First Secretary of the Turkmen Communist Party from 1985 until 1991 and supported the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt. He continued to lead Turkmenistan for 15 years after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Gurbansoltan Eje was the mother of the first post-Soviet president Saparmurat Niyazov ("Türkmenbaşy").

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

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The history of Turkmenistan is largely shrouded in mystery, its past since the arrival of Indo-European Iranian tribes around 2000 BC is often the starting point of the area's discernible history. Early tribes were nomadic or semi-nomadic due to the arid conditions of the region as the steppe culture in Central Asia was an extension of a larger Eurasian series of horse cultures which spanned the entire spectrum of language families including the Indo-Europeans and Turko-Mongol groups. Some of the known early Iranian tribes included the Massagatae, Scythians/Sakas, and early Soghdians. Turkmenistan was a passing point for numerous migrations and invasions by tribes which gravitated towards the settled regions of the south including ancient Mesopotamia, Elam, and the Indus Valley Civilization.

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  1. "Comments for the significant earthquake". Significant Earthquake Database. National Geophysical Data Center . Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  2. USGS (September 4, 2009), PAGER-CAT Earthquake Catalog, Version 2008_06.1, United States Geological Survey
  3. "List of the main Literature about the Ashkhabad Earthquake", Herald of the DGGGMS RAS, State registration number 0329700126, 2 (4), 1998
  4. Cummings, Sally N. (2004). Power and Change in Central Asia. Taylor & Francis. p. 118. ISBN   978-0-203-16691-8.