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Archeoseismology of the Chui Valley

#KR-1848


Assessment of Seismic Hazard of the Chui Valley of the Northern Kyrgyzstan According to Data of Archeoseismology

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-SEM/Seismic Monitoring/Environment

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
15.04.2010

Leading Institute
Institute of History and Cultural Heritage , Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonic University, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Collaborators

  • Katholieke Universiteit / Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Belgium, Leuven\nUniversity of Missouri - Kansas City / Department of Geosciences, USA, MO, Kansas City

Project summary

The project purpose is to define seismic hazard of the Chui valley, Kyrgyzstan on the basis of studying seismic deformations of archeological monuments and seismo-dislocations along active faults of the Chui valley, defining parameters of historical and paleoearthquakes and placing them into the space-time context.

The project aims at solving urgent issues of the regional seismology of the northern Tyan-Shan:

  1. Assessment of seismic hazard of the Chui valley by means of studying traces of the ancient seismic activity on the materials of archeological excavations
  2. Creation of database on seismic activity of the Chui valley on the basis of materials of ancient and medieval settlements
  3. Exploring zones of active breaking of the Chui valley and pleistoseismic zones of modern, historical and paleoearthquakes as well as paleoseismic deformations related to them. Defining strength, location and time of the past strong earthquakes
  4. Creation of GIS map of active breakings and parts of seismic deformations of the Chui valley. Creation of a catalogue of seismic deformations
  5. Mapping

The project core: conducting excavations on archeological places located along actively breaking seismo-hazardous zones of the Chui valley – Shamsinsko-Tyundyukskiy, Issyk-Atinskiy, Chonkurchakskiy – for data collection on archeoseismology; a paleoseismological study of the mentioned zones at the first stage and an analysis of the received data for assessing an extent of seismic hazard at the second stage.

The project urgency:

The Chui valley of Kyrgyzstan is the most densely populated oblast of the republic. Here, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek and major industrial enterprises are located. At the same time, this territory lies within the zone of high seimic activities. Previously, a number of serious and destructive earthquakes with М ≥ 7 were noted (Balasagynskiy 1475, Belovodskiy 1770 and 1885, Keminskiy 1911, Kemino-Chuiskiy 1938). The same is expected in the future. Therefore, it is necessary to have an extended and chronologically wide database on strong earthquakes in order to assess correctly a seismic hazard and risk for the densely populated territory. However, a number of reliable and written sources of information about them are available starting from the mid 19th century. Prior to this date, there was no local writing tradition, and external written monuments do not include such information. As a result, the only methods to extend the database on strong earthquakes in the past in the given region are archeoseismological and paleoseismological ones. These methods, ultimately, lead to restoring a history of processes in the nature.

The project participants suggest conducting a reconnaissance at the first stage in order to identify and map all archeological monuments located along active seismic faults of the Chui valley; later in the most perspective ones to make stationary excavations in order to obtain materials for an archeoseismological analysis. Simultaneously, a structure of active seismic faults and seismic deformations related to them will be studied by the methods of paleoseismology. At the final stage, it is supposed to make a computer-based modeling of seismic events of the past on the basis of new data and correlate seismic prognosis for the future, make an assessment of a seismic hazard of the Chui valley.

The project is based on the experience of archeological, archeoseismological and paleoseismological researches of the project participants conducted within international projects, and confirmed by participation in various conferences and publications (see section 12 –Additional information) as well as on the world experience and achievements in this area (Archaeoseismology, 1996; Paleoseismology, 1996; The Archaeology of Geological Catastrophes, 2000; Archaeoseismology at the Beginning of the 21st Century, 2006 and many others). During the special researches and analysis of the field information, the experience of weapon scientists related to deformations and destruction of medium under strong dynamic pressures and in modeling seismic processes will be applied. The suggested project team allows to hope that the issues of archeoseismology and paleoseismology of the region will be comprehensively solved, and assessment of seismic hazard of the Chui valley.

To achieve the project goal the following tasks will be accomplished:

  1. Identification of archeological monuments along active faults of the Chui valley, their mapping and selection of the most perspective ones among them in the project context to conduct stationary excavations
  2. Conduction of archeological excavations on the selected places as well as archeoseismic field researches, and natural-science studies on the excavated objects
  3. Conduction of detailed paleoseismic researches along active breakings of the Chui valley. Studying consequences of strong paleo-, historical and contemporary earthquakes in the region. Exploring places of seismic deformations, and creating their catalogue on the GIS basis
  4. Analysis and processing of received data, chronological identification of seismic events by the methods of absolute and archeological dating, assessment of seismic intensity of earthquakes in the past and seismic hazard of the Chui valley in the future

Main results of the project will be:
  1. Receiving (for the first time!) data on archeoseismology of the Chui valley;
  2. Defining an extent of destruction of the ancient constructions (intensity of earthquakes at the scale EMS-92) in case of fixing a fact of seismic event;
  3. Defining parameters of the ancient earthquakes and structures of seismoactive breakings by methods of archeo- and paleoseismology;
  4. Dating of destructive earthquakes by archeological and natural-science methods;
  5. GIS-maps, catalogues and web database about researches conducted.

The received outcomes will allow to fill in gaps in the current seismic catalogue, which will allow for a re-evaluation of seismic hazard on the territory of the Chui valley and Kyrgyzstan as a whole.

Moreover, at the same time new data on the material structure of the ancient and medieval population of the given region will be received by means of targeted and planned field researches of settlements of the piedmont zone (for the first time!) in the Chui valley of Kyrgyzstan.


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