The Worst Earthquake in Iranian History Essay

Submitted By afrezell
Words: 1083
Pages: 5

Overview: On December 26, 2003 at 05:27 AM local time, an earthquake struck the Kerman province in southeastern Iran. The earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, measured 6.6 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter located near the city of Bam (slide 3), 975 km southeast of Iran’s capital of Tehran. The earthquake killed more than 26,000 people and affected over 305,000. An approximate of 85% of buildings was destroyed in the city of Bam (slide 2) and surrounding villages, leaving more than 75,000 people without shelter during the ongoing cold weather. In terms of human loss the quake was the worst to occur in Iranian history. A census was undertaken to discover the exact number of casualties. The BBC reported that a large number of victims were crushed while sleeping.11,000 students were killed and 1/5 of the 5,400 local teaching staff were also. This caused a significant problem for the local education system. Eighty-five to ninety percent of buildings and infrastructure in the Bam area were either damaged or destroyed, with 70% of houses being completely destroyed, plus 70-90% of Bam's residential areas. This left an estimated 100,000 homeless. Not a single house was standing in Baravat. An important regional center during the 16th and 17th centuries, Bam contained many buildings that were not constructed to survive such ruptures. Many houses in Bam were homemade, and its owners did not use skilled labor or proper building materials to resist earthquakes in the construction. These were often built in the traditional mud-brick style. Setting: The Bam area is part of the Lut-e-Zangi Ahmad desert that has hot summers with temperatures up to 50 o C and winters with below freezing temperatures. The geomorphology of the region also includes a range of mountains to the North of Bam extending northwest and also the Jebal-e-Barez mountain range to the Southwest of Bam extending in a Northwest-Southeast direction. Water sources within these mountain ranges are the main suppliers for the Qanat system in Bam, Baravat and their satellite villages. The seasonal Posht-Rood river that flows to the North of Bam city is dry during much of the year. The Iranian plateau is part of the major Eurasian plate with the tectonic setting of the region dominated by the collision of the Arabian, Eurasian and Indian plates. The Arabian plate is moving northward against the Euroasian plate at a rate of approximately 30 mm/year with deformation of the Earth’s crust taking place across a broad zone 1000 km wide, that spans the entire region of Iran and extends into Turkimanestan in the Northeast of Iran. Earthquakes occur as a result of both reverse and strike-slip faulting within the zone of deformation.

Sequence of Events:

December 25th 2003- two foreshocks were felt the day before at 3 pm and 10 pm which caused panic and alarm among population
December 26th 2003-35 minutes before the main shock a powerful foreshock was felt
December 26th 2003-the main and most powerful earthquake hit Bam around 5:30 in the (slide 6) morning. Despite the relatively small magnitude (6.6) the earthquake caused most of the buildings in Bam to collapse. There was no organized rubble removal effort, and therefore no local search-and-rescue teams present during the first twenty-four hours of the earthquake. The local populace was mainly responsible for clearing the rubble and engaging in rescue work immediately following the earthquake.
January 8th 2003-the International Federation of the Red Cross and the U.N. launched an international appeal for relief together in Bam. 44 countries, including Russia, Britain, Germany and Spain, responded and sent in personnel to assist and 60 countries had offered assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake.
January 2nd 2004-Iranian authorities end search-and-rescue operations. Due to a lack of coordination only 22 people were saved during a 48 hour rescue period conducted by international relief teams.…