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Frequency of Paleoearthquakes in Kyrgyzstan


The Study of the Paleoearthquake by Seismogenic Formation of the Caves with Aims of the Estimation of Strong Earthquake Frequency and their Parameters in the Territory of the South Kyrgyzstan

Tech Area / Field

  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
  • ENV-SEM/Seismic Monitoring/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonic University, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek


  • Arizona State University, USA, AZ, Tempe\nDalhousie University / Department of Earth Sciences, Canada, NS, Halifax\nUniversita degli studi di Milano-Bicocca / Department of Geological Science and Geotechnologies, Italy, Milan

Project summary

Aim of project: is development of the forecasting spatio-temporal model of the strong earthquakes in the South Kyrgyzstan territory on the base of study of fall formation in caves, the revelation their genesis and ties with the strong earthquakes in region, determination of the age of seismic-gravitation collapses with the help of radiocarbon, U-Th disequilibrium absolute dating methods and determination recurrence of the strong earthquakes with use new received data, and available data by out-caves paleoseismicdisocations, seismic-genical convolutions in the lakes sediments and deformations in archaeological monuments. The final project goal is compilation of the forecasting spatio-temporal map of the strong earthquakes in the South Kyrgyzstan territory.

Actuality of the project:

The territory of the Kyrgyz Republic dislocated within the bounds of Tien Shan’s mounting zone, which characterized by strong earthquakes with magnitude more then 7 (М≥7), take place (including) and in the historical period. However, available archives with seismological material, limited by small period historical study - only 150-200 years. This data, as well as data by instrumental seismicity, insufficient for determination of the places of the future strong earthquakes, determination their power, and frequency. For estimation of seismic risk of region the necessary long sequence of data (hundreds – thousands years), which contain information about coordinate of the ancients shock epicenters, their power, and time of their beginnings. Therefore, data about paleoseismology has the great value.

Collapsed of the wall archs and cave’s chemogenic formations during strong earthquakes, is unique additional source of information about parameters seismic-catastrophes. This data, in synthesis with available paleoseismological materials, serve as starting material for more accurate estimation of the seismic risk of region and developing the more accurate estimation of the catastrophic earthquakes recurrence.

Heart of the project:

At the disposal of researcher seismologists, who studied ancient earthquakes in Central Asia, has very limited sequence of authentic data about strong earthquakes in past, and period of the instrumental investigations less then 100 years.

The determination of the frequency or recurrence of the strong earthquakes is the more difficult task in the work package by seismic zoning of the territory. Place and power of the seismic events can be determined by the parameters of the paleoseismicdislocations, but for determination of the reliable age of the ancient earthquakes, needed the method of absolute dating.

This methods planning to use in present project for dating strained and caved, as result seismic events, chemogenical gravitational carbonate formations (stalagmites, stalognates and other forms). The unique results of this dating, will be compare or correlated with data by seismic locations, studied out of caves, in particular by locations in rocky and mellow sediments, marked in relief, deformation of the architectural monuments.

Determinations of the age of chemogenical formations will be important contribution to estimation of the recurrence of global climate changes in past, because the results of dating, in present project, carbonate formations, can be used in future in the new project, for determination changes of the climate by analyzed of the structure wandering formations and isotopic composition of oxygen (О16/О18).

The project directed to problem solving to recurrence estimation of the strong earthquakes in the South Kyrgyzstan, to the specification of the previous results by seismic risk zoning in the territory of the South Kyrgyzstan. Moreover, to receiving the series, evinced in past, strong earthquakes, which will be serve as base for forecast of the catastrophic earthquakes in future, in the long aspect.

The participants of the project propose new method (for Central Asia) estimation of the recurrence of strong earthquakes, using radiocarbon and U-Th disequilibrium absolute dating of chemogenical gravity formation of the caves and cave’s falling, which shed light on paleoseismic situation in past eras and perhaps lead to decision many geodynamic problems.

The project lean on scientific works by paleoseismology and seismic location of the Institute of Seismology of National Academy of Science KR, in particular, on the articles of Korjenkov A. M. (5,46 ).

  • On the series of scientific work by karsts-genetic, which leads in present time by the participants of project.
  • On the speleological experience of the participants of project.
  • On the experience of decision inverse problem of paleo-environmental and analyzed of geo-environment with difficult rheology.
  • On the scientific works and articles (see Appendix 1)
  • On the extensive data base by caves of the Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan, cumulative over 35 years of the speleological investigation, witch contained information by cavers, karsts-genetic and falling deformations.

Participant’s competence.

Scientists participate in the project:

  • Mandychev A.N – researcher in the field of hydrogeology and engineering geology. He has experience in preparation of the projects, reports, scientific leaderships. He is author of monographs and scientific articles (in Appendix), participant of the project: KR 330d.
  • Korjenkov A. M. – author of monograph by seismology of Tien Shan and 150 scientific publications (in Appendix), geomorphologist, specialist in seismo-locations and archaeo-seismology. Participant of the project: КR- 357, 583, 1281; INTAS - 96-1923; US CRDF - KYG2-2542-BI-03, KYG2-2820-BI-06; the National Geographical society of the USA - 6524-99б; scholar of the Humboldt's Fund and German service of scientific exchanges (DAAD)
  • Nagornov O. V. – specialist in mathematical modeling of difficult geophysical events, decision inverse problem of paleo-environmental. Author of the article (in appendix).
  • Dudashvili A.– speleologist with 15 years length of service, specialist in the field of speleo-genesis, hydrogeology of karst, the author of the articles by karst (in Appendix).
  • Bobrovsky A.– land-surveyor, the master of field and caves survey with different sorts of modern geodesic equipments. Participant of the project KR 1281.
  • Abdeeva S. V. – specialist in archaeo-seismology and seismo-locations.
  • Orlova L. A. – samples processing with С14 method.
  • Tabaldiev K.- archaeologist
  • Dolgushev V.G. – specialist in mathematical modeling and parallel programming;
  • Nikulichev V.B. – engineer- mathematician, specialist in mathematical modeling;
  • Ajikanov N. Sh. – technical support in field works;
  • Mamadalieva Z..E. – the technical translation of report documentations by project.
  • Kudryshov N.A. – specialist in mathematical modeling.
  • Strunkov S.P. – specialist in decision inverse problem.
  • Kruchkov V.S. – specialist in radiocarbon analyze.
  • Miroshin N.V. – specialist in analyze of time series.
  • Konovalov U.V. – specialist in modeling of current and destruction of medium with difficult flow characteristics.
  • Tuflin S. A. – specialist in radiocarbon analysis.
  • 5 people is support personnel: safety control and hardware of project

Category of the project. In the project will be solve scientific and the applied problems, necessary for receiving parameters of the paleo- earthquakes, witch necessary for estimation of periodicity of strong earthquakes in the territory of South Kyrgyzstan.

The major task of the project is:

  1. estimation of paleo-seismological conditions and determination of the level of seismic activity of Pleistocene – Holocene epochs on the territory of South Tien Shan.
  2. estimation of periodicity of important seismic events in past by method of absolute dating of cave formations and cultural layers.
  3. realize localization of unknown earlier / badly study, epicentral zones of paleo-earthquakes and detect or confirm presence of active seismic-generation zones or their segments, including not reveal with other methods.
  4. estimation of upper bound of magnitude (Ммах) over a long time (up to 30-50 thousand years), reconstruction of paleoseismic events by analysis of time series, solution of inverse problem and development of spatially temporal prognostic model.

Findings results will be serve as basic for extend of understanding of seismotectonic of Tien Shan, that allow to precise and expand the map of seismic zoning of the Kyrgyzstan and forecast the catastrophical earthquakes in future on the territory of Central Asia.


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