Evidence and description of the earthquake and the possibility of finding the paleo-earthquake concentrating on the Tabas Earthquake

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Institute of Geophysics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Earthquakes with a large magnitude affect people, man-made buildings and environments. This information can be a dataset of the earthquake description consisting of people’s feelings, the building damages, and the effects on the earth. For the building damages, different types of buildings should be considered to find the best dataset of the earthquake. For the effects on the earth, various environmental effects such as the displacements, landslides, rock falls, liquefactions, surface and chemical changes on the rivers and springs, etc. should be considered; more information of more situations, more accurate exports of the earthquake. According to global research in this field, using this information can be useful to assess the macroseismic intensity of the affected areas and the epicentral earthquake. Moreover, having a good dataset of these descriptions, the macroseismic parameters of the earthquake can also be estimated. It can be useful especially for the earthquakes with low or/ and lack of information in the earthquake catalogs and also paleo-earthquakes. This study concentrates on the Tabas earthquake, which occurred on September 16, 1978, in the Tabas region located in eastern Iran. This was a shallow earthquake felt in a region with 1130000km2 total affected area. Such as every large earthquake, several phenomena were observed related to this event. For example, it destroyed 1500 building units and 30 Qantas. Although the epicenter of the earthquake was located in a situation with a poor population, it destroyed or severely damaged 90 villages and slightly damaged other 50 villages. The surface rupture of this event was extended for about 85km with no connection on the surface with a trust mechanism. Moreover, 150cm vertical displacement and 300cm horizontal displacement were reported for this event. According to these descriptions of Tabas earthquake with magnitude more than 6, occurring more earthquakes in the past can be usual for this region; then, more investigation on this field is necessary. Therefore, in this study, primarily investigation on this region was started using the available maps (e.g. geology map) and images (e.g. Landsat) and for the following researches the locations near Ali Abad in NW of Tabas were suggested for the field study and sampling to date their absolute ages.


Main Subjects

حسینی هاشمی، ب.، منصوری، ب.، کلانتری، ا.، سروقدمقدم، ع.ر.، فرشچی، ح.ر. و همکاران، گزارش زمین­لرزه 21 آبان 1396 با بزرگای 3/7 در منطقه سرپل ذهاب استان کرمانشاه، 1396، پژوهشگاه بین­المللی زلزله‌شناسی و مهندسی زلزله، تهران، ایران.
نوروزی، ع.ا.، مهاجراشجعی، ا.، پیمان، م.، تقی­زاده، غ.ع.، 1357، پس­لرزه­ها، گسترش خسارات و گزارش صحرایی زلزله بزرگ طبس در شرق ایران، سازمان انرژی اتمی ایران، شماره 77، انجمن نفت ایران.
گزارشی از زلزله طبس- مهر 1357- سازمان برنامه و بودجه- مرکز آمار ایران
Akasheh, B., Eshghi., I., 1980, The Tabas (Iran) Earthquake of 16 September 1978, PAGEOPH, Vol. 119 (1980/81).
Ambraseys, N.N., Melville, C.P., 1982, A history of Persian Earthquake, Cambridge University Press.
Arjmand Noshahr, A., Nouri, Gh. and Azadi Hir, M., 2012, Seismic Hazards Assessment of North-west of Iran, Ardabil city, 15 WCEE LISBOA 2012.
Bakun, W., Aagaard, B., Dost, B., Ellsworth, W., Hardebeck, J., Harris, R., Ji, C., Johnston, M., Langbein, J., Lienkaemper, J., 2005, Implications for prediction and hazard assessment from the 2004 Parkfield earthquake. Nature, 437:969-974.
Banisadr, M., 1969, The Seismicity of Iran, 1900-1969. Ph.D. Thesis, Imperial College, London.
Berberian, M., 1979a, Earthquake faulting and bedding thrust associated with the Tabas-e-Golshan (Iran) Earthquake September 16, BSSA, Vol.69, No.6, pp. 1861-1887.
Berberian, M., 1979b, Tabas-e-Golshan (Iran) catastrophic earthquake of 16 September 1978; A preliminary field report, Pergamon Press Ltd., Disasters, V.2, No.4, pp. 207-219.
Berberian, M., 1977, Historical Seismicity (Pre 1900) Map of Iran, 1:5,000,000. In: Contribution to the Seismotectonics of Iran, Part III. Geological Survey of Iran, Report No. 40, ColorMap.
Berberian, M. and Mohajer-Ashjai, A., 1977, Seismic Risk Map of Iran, A Proposal, Contribution to the Seismotectonics of Iran, Part III. Geological Survey of Iran, 40, 121-150.
Berberian, M., Asudeh, I., Bilham, R.G., Scholz, CH. & Soufleris, C., 1979, Mechanism of the main shock and the aftershock study of the Tabas-e-Golshan (Iran) earthquake of September 16, 1978; A preliminary report, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, V. 69, No. 6, pp. 1851-1859.
Berberian, M., 1982, Aftershock tectonics of the 1978 Tabas-e-Golshan (Iran) earthquake sequence: a documented active ‘thin- and thick-skinned tectonic’ case. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 68, 499–530.
Berberian, M., 1983, Contribution to the seismotectonics of Iran (part IV): In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Pahlavi dynasty. Ministry of Industry and Mines, Geological Survey of Iran, Report No. 52.
De Rossi, M., 1883, Programma dell’osservatorio ed archivio centrale geodinamico presso il R. Comitato Geologico d’Italia. Bull Vulcanismo Ital, 10:3-128.
Gasperini, P., Vannucci, G., Tripone, D. & Boschi, E., 2010, The Location and Sizing of Historical Earthquakes Using the Attenuation of Macroseismic Intensity with Distance, BSSA, Vol. 100, No. 5A, pp. 2035–2066.
Ghodrati Amiri, G. and Razavian Amrei, S.A., 2008, Seismic hazard assessment of Gilan province including Manjil in Iran, The 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, October 12-17, 2008, Beijing, China.
Ghodrati Amiri, G., Mahmoodi, H., and Razavian Amrei, S.A., 2010, Probabilistic Seismic hazard assessment of Tehran based on arias intensity, IJE Transactions B: Applications Vol. 23, No. 1.
Grünthal, G. (ed) 1992, European Macroseismic Scale 1992 (up-dated MSK-scale). Cahiers du Centre Européen de Géodynamique et de Séismologie. Conseil de l’Europe, Conseil de l’Europe.
Grünthal, G., (ed) 1998, European Macroseismic Scale 1998, Cahiers du Centre Europèen de Gèodynamique et de Seismologie. Conseil de l'Europe, Conseil de l'Europe 15, 99.
Guerrieri, L., Michetti, A.M., Reicherter, K., Serva, L., Silva, P.G., Audemard, F., Azuma, T., Baiocco, F., Baize, S., Blumetti, A.M., Brustia, E., Clague, J., Comerci, V., Esposito, E., Gurpinar, A., Grutzner, C., Jin, K., Kim, Y.S., Kopsachilis, V., Lucarini, M., McCalpin, J., Mohammadioun, B., Morner, N.A., Okumura, K., Ota, Y., Papathanassiou, G., Pavlides, S., Perez Lόpez, R., Porfido, S., Rodrίguez Pascua, M.A., Rogozhin, E., Scaramella, A., Sintubin, M., Tatevossian, R. & Vittori, E., 2015, Earthquake Environmental Effect for seismic hazard assessment: the ESI intensity scale and the EEE Catalogue, Memorie descrittive della Carta Geologica d'Italia, V. XCVII.
Hessami, K., Jamali, F. and Tabassi, H., 2003, Major active faults of Iran, Seismotectonic department, seismology research center.
Jalalalhosseini, S.M., Zafarani, H., Zare, M., 2017, Time-dependent seismic hazard analysis for the Greater Tehran and surrounding areas, Journal of Seismology, V. 22, PP. 187-215, DOI 10.1007/s10950-017-9699-4.Karig, D. E. and Sharman, G. E., 1975, Subduction and accretion in trenches, Bull. geol. Soc. Am., 86, 371-389.
Khodaverdian, A., Zafarani, H., Rahimian, M., and Dehnamakic, V., 2016, Seismicity parameters and spatially smoothed seismicity model for Iran. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 106(3), 1133-1150.
Mahdavifar, M., Fatemi Aghda S.M., Bagheri, V., 2012, Seismic Landslides Hazard Zonation of Sarein, Iran using Fuzzy Logic System, Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary of ICL, Kyoto
Medvedev, S., Sponheuer, W., Kárník, V., 1964, Neue seismische Skala Intensity scale of earthquakes, 7. Tagung der Europäischen Seismologischen Kommission vom 24.9. bis 30.9. 1962. Jena, Veröff Institut für Bodendynamik und Erdbebenforschung in Jena, 77:69-76.
Michetti, A.M., Esposito, E., Gurpinar, A., Mohammadioun, B., Mohammadioun, J., Porfido, S., Rogozhin, E., Serva, L., Tatevossian, R., Vittori, E., Audemard, F., Comerci, V., Marco, S., MaCalpin, J. and Morner, N.A., 2004, The INQUA Scale, An innovative approach for assessing earthquake intensities based on seismically-induced ground effects in natural environment, Memorie descrittive della Carta Geologica d'Italia, 67.
Michetti, A.M., Esposito, E., Guerrieri, L., Porfido, S., Serva, L., Tatevossian, R., Vittori, E., Audemard, F., Azuma, T., Clague, J., Comerci, V., Gurpinar, A., McCalpin, J., Mohammadioun, B., Mörner, N.A., Ota, Y. & Roghozin, E., 2007, Intensity scale ESI 2007. In: Guerrieri L, Vittori E (ed) Mem. Descr. Carta Geologica d’Italia, Servizio Geologico d’Italia, Dipartimento Difesa del Suolo, APAT, Rome, 74p.
Mirzaei, N., Gao, M., and Chen Y.T., 1998, Seismic source regionalization for seismic zoning of Iran: major seismotectonic provinces. J. Earthquake Prediction Research, 7, 465-495.
Moinfar, A.A., Naderzadeh, A., and Maleki, E., 2000, A new seismic hazard map for the implementation in the national physical planning of Iran. Earthquake Hazard and Seismic Risk Reduction, 289-296.
Musson, R., Jiménez, M., 2008, Macroseismic estimation of earthquake parameters. NERIES project report, Module NA4, Deliverable D, 3
Niazi, M. and Basford, J.R., 1968, Seismicity of Iranian Plateau and Hindu Kush region. Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, 58, 417-426.
Niazi, M. & Kanamori, H., 1981, Source parameters of 1978 Tabas and 1979 Qainat, Iran, earthquakes from long-period surface waves, BSSA, 71, 1201–1213.
Richter, CF., 1958, Elementary seismology.
Shabani, E. and Mirzaei, N., 2007, Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment of the Kermanshah-Sanandaj Region of Western Iran, Earthquake Spectra, Volume 23, No. 1, pages 175–197.
Hamzehloo, H., Alikhanzadeh A., Rahmani, M., and Ansari, A., 2012, Seismic hazard maps of Iran. 15th World Conferences on Earthquake Engineering (WCEE).
Sharp, R., Orsini, N., 1978, Preliminary report on the Tabas, Iran earthquake of September 16, 1978, US Geological Survey, California (https://www eeri org/lfe/pdf/ Iran_Tabas_PrelimReport_Nov78 pdf, 20 Aug 2013).
Shoja-Taheri, J., 2002, Attenuation relations for peak and response spectra of horizontal acceleration from strong-motion records for the main seismic zones of the Iranian plateau, Seismological Research Letters, 73, 242, SSA Meet. Suppl.
Shoja-Taheri, J. and Niazi, M., 1981, Seismicity of the Iranian Plateau and bordering regions, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 71, 477-489.
Sieberg A, 1930, Geologie der Erdbeben, Handboch der Geophysic 4:552–554.
Silva, P.G., Michetti, A.M., Guerrieri, L., 2015, Intensity Scale ESI 2007 for Assessing Earthquake Intensities, Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-36197-5_31-1
Tavakoli, B. and Ghafory-Ashtiany, M., 1999, Seismic hazard assessment of Iran. Annali di Geofisica, GSHAP Special Volume.
Walker, R., Jackson, J., Baker, C., 2003, Surface expression of thrust faulting in eastern Iran: source parameters and surface deformation of the 1978 Tabas and 1968 Ferdows earthquake sequences. Geophysical Journal International 152, 749–765.
Wood, H.O., Neumann, F., 1931, Modified Mercalli intensity scale of 1931. Seismological Society of America.
Zare, M., 2014, Seismic and Tsunami hazard in the shorelines of Khark Island, Persian Gulf, Iran, Second European conference on earthquake engineering and seismology, Istanbul Agu., 25-29.