Historical seismogram reproductions for the source parameters determination of the 1902, Atushi (Kashgar) earthquake


The majority of original seismograms recorded at the very beginning of instrumental seismology (the early 1900s) did not survive till present. However, a number of books, bulletins, and catalogs were published including the seismogram reproductions of some, particularly interesting earthquakes. In case these reproductions contain the time and amplitude scales, they can be successfully analyzed the same way as the original records. Information about the Atushi (Kashgar) earthquake, which occurred on August 22, 1902, is very limited. We could not find any original seismograms for this earthquake, but 12 seismograms from 6 seismic stations were printed as example records in different books. These data in combination with macroseismic observations and different bulletins information published for this earthquake were used to determine the source parameters of the earthquake. The earthquake epicenter was relocated at 39.87° N and 76.42° E with the hypocenter depth of about 18 km. We could further determine magnitudes m B = 7.7 ± 0.3, M S = 7.8 ± 0.4, M W = 7.7 ± 0.3 and the focal mechanism of the earthquake with strike/dip/rake − 260°± 20/30°± 10/90°± 10. This study confirms that the earthquake likely had a smaller magnitude than previously reported (M8.3). The focal mechanism indicates dominant thrust faulting, which is in a good agreement with presumably responsible Tuotegongbaizi-Aerpaleike northward dipping thrust fault kinematic, described in previous studies.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


  1. 1.

    The earthquake has two different names in different literature. In Russian publications (Voznesenskiy 1904; Kondorskaya and Shebalin 1982), it is referred to as Kashgar earthquake, whereas in Chinese literature it is called Atushi earthquake (He et al. 2001; Zhao et al. 2000).


  1. Abe K, Noguchi S (1983) Revision of magnitudes of large shallow earthquakes, 1897–1912. Phys Earth Planet Inter 33(1):1–11. doi:10.1016/0031-9201(83)90002-X

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Batlló J, Arrazola D, Ugalde A (2005) Using magnetograms for earthquake magnitude evaluation. Eos Trans AGU 86(48):498–498. doi:10.1029/2005EO480003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Belar A (1903) Monatsbericht für jänner 1902der Erdbebenwarte an der k.k. Staats-oberrealschule in Laibach. In: Belar A (ed) Die erdbebenwarte., laibach druck von ig. v. 1901/02. Kleinmayr & fed. Bamberg im verlage des herausgebers. in German, pp 172–173

    Google Scholar 

  4. BGS (2017) Historical UK magnetic observatory magnetograms and yearbooks. British Geological Survey. http://www.bgs.ac.uk/data/magnetograms/home.html. Accessed 19 June 2017

  5. Blaser L, Krüger F, Ohrnberger M, Scherbaum F (2010) Scaling relations of earthquake source parameter estimates with special focus on subduction environment. Bull Seismol Soc Am 100(6):2914–2926. doi:10.1785/0120100111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bormann P, Baumbach M, Bock G, Grosser H, Choy G, Boatwright J (2009) Seismic sources and source parameters. In: Bormann P (ed) New manual of seismological observatory practice (NMSOP). Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam, pp 1–94

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bormann P, Wendt S, Di Giacomo D (2013) Seismic sources and source parameters. In: Bormann P (ed) New manual of seismological observatory practice 2 (NMSOP2). Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam, pp 1–259

    Google Scholar 

  8. Burtman VS (2013) The geodynamics of the Pamir-Punjab syntaxis. Geotectonics 47(1):31–51. doi:10.1134/S0016852113010020

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Cadek O (1987) Studying earthquake ground motion in Prague from Wiechert seismograph records. Gerl Beitr Geoph 96:438–447

    Google Scholar 

  10. CMT (2017) Global centroid-moment-tensor (CMT) catalog. CMT catalog web search. http://www.globalcmt.org/CMTsearch.html. Accessed 19 june 2017

  11. Davison C (1921) On scales of seismic intensity and on the construction and use of isoseismal lines. Bull Seismol Soc Am 11(2):95–130

    Google Scholar 

  12. Ekström G, Nettles M, Dziewónski AM (2012) The global CMT project 2004-2010: centroid-moment tensors for 13,017 earthquakes. Phys Earth Planet Inter 200-201(0):1–9. doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2012.04.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Etzold F (1903) Die von wicherts astatischem pendelseismometer in der zeit vom 15. Juli bis 81. December 1902 in leipzig gelieferten seismogramme von fernbeben. Abdruck aus den berichte der math.-phys. Klasse der königl. Sächs. Gesellschaft der wissenschaften zu leipzig, leipzig, sitzung vom 2. Februar 1903, mit tafel II, in German

  14. Fu Z, Lü X, Jin X, Dai Y, Shao H, Hao P (2010) Discussion on the abnormally low active fault slip rate of the M S 8.0 wenchuan earthquake. Earthquake Research in China 24(3):272–276

    Google Scholar 

  15. Ghose S, Hamburger MW, Virieux J (1998) Three-dimensional velocity structure and earthquake locations beneath the northern Tien Shan of Kyrgyzstan, central Asia. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 103 (B2):2725–2748. doi:10.1029/97JB01798

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Grabrovec D, Allegretti I (1994) On the digitizing of historical seismograms. Geofizika 11:27–31

    Google Scholar 

  17. Gutenberg B (1956) Great earthquakes 1896–1903. Eos Trans AGU 37(5):608–614. doi:10.1029/TR037i005p00608

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. He YM, Zheng TY, Shan XJ (2001) March 19, 1996 Artux Xinjiang earthquake: a simple unilateral rupture event. Chin J Geophys 44(4):506–514. doi:10.1002/cjg2.168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. ISC (2017) International Seismological Centre On-line Bulletin. Int. Seis Cent, Thatcham, United Kingdom, http://www.isc.ac.uk/iscbulletin/search/bulletin/. Accessed 19 June 2017

  20. Karnik V, Kondorskaya NV, Riznitchenko JV, Savarensky EF, Soloviev SL, Shebalin NV, Vanek J, Zatopek A (1962) Standardization of the earthquake magnitude scale. Stud Geophys Geod 6:41–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Kennett BLN, Engdahl ER, Buland R (1995) Constraints on seismic velocities in the Earth from traveltimes. Geophys J Int 122(1):108–124. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.1995.tb03540.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Kimball S, et al (2017) GIMP– GNU image manipulation program. GIMP is a freely distributed piece of software. http://www.gimp.org/. Accessed 19 June 2017

  23. Kondorskaya NV, Shebalin NV (1982) New catalog of strong earthquakes in the U.S.S.R. from ancient times through 1977. ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/hazards/publications/wdcse-31.pdf. Accessed 19 June 2017, report (world data center a for solid earth geophysics)

  24. Krüger F, Kulikova G, Landgraf A (2015) Instrumental magnitude constraints for the 11 July 1889, Chilik earthquake. Geol Soc Lond, Spec Publ:432. doi:10.1144/SP432.8

  25. Kulikova G (2016) Source parameters of the major historical earthquakes in the tien-shan region from the late 19th to the early 20th century. University of Potsdam. https://publishup.uni-potsdam.de/opus4-ubp/home. Accessed 19 June 2017, phd thesis, 164 pages. All rights reserved

  26. Kulikova G, Krüger F (2015) Source process of the 1911 m8.0 chon-kemin earthquake: investigation results by analogue seismic records. Geophys J Int 201(3):1891–1911. doi:10.1093/gji/ggv091

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Kulikova G, Schurr B, Krüger F, Brzoska E, Heimann S (2016) Source parameters of the Sarez-Pamir earthquake of 1911 february 18. Geophys J Int 205(2):1086–1098. doi:10.1093/gji/ggw069

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Mikhailova N, Mukambayev A, Aristova I, Kulikova G, Ullah S, Pilz M, Bindi D (2015) Central Asia earthquake catalogue from ancient time to 2009. Ann Geophys 58(1):S0102(1–9). doi:10.4401/ag-6681

    Google Scholar 

  29. Molnar P, Ghose S (2000) Seismic moments of major earthquakes and the rate of shortening across the Tien Shan. Geophys Res Lett 27(16):2377–2380. doi:10.1029/2000GL011637

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Mooney WD, Laske G, Masters TG (1998) CRUST 5.1: a global crustal model at 5° × 5°. J Geophys Res 103(B1):727–747

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Nelson MR, McCaffrey R, Molnar P (1987) Source parameters for 11 earthquakes in the Tien Shan, central Asia, determined by P and SH waveform inversion. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 92(B12):12,629–12,648. doi:10.1029/JB092iB12p12629

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Olaxton T (1911) Results of magnetic and meteorological observations, the royal alfred observatory, Mauritius, 1902, plate 2. Under the direction of t.f. Olaxton, (f.r.a.s.). Printed by government printing establishment. http://ds.iris.edu/seismo-archives/projects/Mauritius_1900-1909.pdf. Accessed 19 June 2017

  33. Omori F (1902) A horizontal pendulum tromometer. Publications of the Earthquake Investigation Committe in Foreign Language 12:1–7

    Google Scholar 

  34. Omori F (1903) Horizontal pendulum observations of earthquakes at Hitotsubashi (Tokyo), 1900. Publications of the Earthquake Investigation Committe in Foreign Language 13:109–111, 120

    Google Scholar 

  35. Omori F (1907) Note on the Kashgar (Turkestan) earthquake of Aug. 22, 1902. In: Omori F (ed) Bulletin of the imperial earthquake investigation committee, vol 1, disaster prevention committee and imperial earthquake investigation committee. http://id.nii.ac.jp/0021/00009378, Accessed 19 June 2017, pp 161–166

    Google Scholar 

  36. Réthly A (1904) On the earthquake recording instruments. Bullet Nat Sci 36 (414):136–149

    Google Scholar 

  37. Schweitzer J (2001) HYPOSAT - an enhanced routine to locate seismic events. Pure Appl Geophys 158(1-2):277–289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Schweitzer J (2012) HYPOSAT/HYPOMOD. (GFZ) German Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam, user Manual

  39. Schweitzer J, Lee WHK (2003) 88 old seismic bulletins to 1920: a collective heritage from early seismologists. In: Kanamori H, Lee WHK, Jennings PC, Kisslinger C (eds) International handbook of earthquake and engineering seismology. Academic Press, International Geophysics, pp 1665– 1723

    Google Scholar 

  40. Shen J, Bai M, Shi G (2013) A brief introduction to the seismotectonic map of Xinjiang and its neighborhood. Earthquake Research In China 27(3):411–426

    Google Scholar 

  41. Storchak DA, Di Giacomo D, Bondár I, Engdahl ER, Harris J, Lee WHK, Villaseńor A, Bormann P (2013) Public release of the ISC–GEM global instrumental earthquake catalogue (1900–2009). Seismol Res Lett 84(5):810–815

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. USGS (2017) Earthquake archive search and URL builder. NEIC, National Earthquake Information Center, U.S Geological Survey, National Center, USA, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/search/. Accessed 19 June 2017

  43. Voznesenskiy AV (1904) List of earthquake observations by irkutsk magnetic meteorological observatory. In: Kolmin N (ed) Proceedings of the East-Siberian department of the imperial Russian geographical society published by editing committee Volume XXXIV, 1903, n1, steam typo-lithography of Makushin P. and Posohin V., printed upon request of the East Siberian department of the imperial Russian geographical society under the supervision of the editing committee. http://library.isu.ru/. Accessed 19 June 2017, in Russian and French, the publication was accessed as a scanned copy via Scientific library of the Irkutsk Public University, pp 11–18

  44. Wood HO (1921) Bulletin of the national research council. A list of seismologic stations of the world. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C, part 7, no 15

  45. Zhao RB, Li J, Shen J (2000) The preliminary study on active faults and paleo-earthquakes in the north fringe of Kashi depression. Acta Seismologica Sinica 13(3):351–355. doi:10.1007/s11589-000-0045-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Zhao RB, Shen J, Li J (2001) Preliminary study on the deformation features and seismogenic model of the 1902 Artux, Xinjiang earthquake of \(M_{S}=8\frac {1}{4}\). Journal of Seismology and Geology 23(4):493–500

    Google Scholar 

  47. Zubovich AV, Wang Xq, Scherba YG, Schelochkov GG, Reilinger R, Reigber C, Mosienko OI, Molnar P, Michajljow W, Makarov VI, Li J, Kuzikov SI, Herring TA, Hamburger MW, Hager BH, Dang Ym, Bragin VD, Beisenbaev RT (2010) GPS Velocity field for the tien shan and surrounding regions. Tectonics 29(6):TC6014(1–23). doi:10.1029/2010TC002772

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to express gratitude to all the people who helped us to collect the historical seismograms. Particularly, we are thankful to Siegfried Wendt, and Pia Buchholz from Observatory Collm, Institute of Geophysics and Geology, University of Leipzig; Marius Kriegerowski and library of the Institute of Geophysics, The university of Hamburg. Additionally, we express our very great appreciation to our colleagues from Geodetic and Geophysical Institute, RCAES, HAS, Kővesligethy Radó Seismological Observatory: Péter Varga, Erzsébet Győri, and Anna Kard who provided additional data and very valuable advice for the benefit of this work.

Also, we would like to thank BGS (British Geological Survey) for providing magnetogram records from their unique collection historical magnetograms We are especially grateful to the open online literature sources: Scientific library of the Irkutsk public University, CiNii (Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator, Japan), “Seismogram Archives of Significant Earthquakes of the World” under the supervision of William H.K. Lee; for providing the historical reports and seismogram reproductions.

This research work was a part of PROGRESS project (http://www.earth-in-progress.de/index.35.de.html) and we are grateful to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for the financial support of this project.

We would like to gratefully acknowledge open source software used in this work: GMT—The Generic Mapping Tools developed by Paul Wessel and Walter H. F. Smith; Seismic Handler (seismic waveform analysis tool) developed by Dr. Klaus Stammler and Dr. Marcus Walther; and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Galina Kulikova.

Appendix A: Additional information on the data collection

Appendix A: Additional information on the data collection

Table 1 Instrument constants for some of analogue instruments operating in 1902
Table 2 The station list with all arrival times for all the phases which were available for the 1902 Atushi earthquake from the digitized waveforms and Omori (1907)
Table 3 The amplitudes (A m p) and the periods (T) for the surface waves recorded on three stations, read from the waveforms, reports, and books (Omori 1907; Etzold 1903; Voznesenskiy 1904)
Table 4 Scalar moment and moment magnitude determination for the 1902 Atushi earthquake
Fig. 8

Seismogram reproduction, station Leipzig (LEIH) in Germany, Wiechert instrument, from Etzold (1903)

Fig. 9

Earthquake description, station Leipzig (LEIH) in Germany, Wiechert instrument, from Etzold (1903)

Fig. 10

Seismogram reproduction, station Laibach (LAIH), Slovenia, Horizontal pendulum instrument, from Belar (1903)

Fig. 11

Seismogram reproduction, station HNGH, Japan, EW component, Bosch-Omori instrument, from Omori (1902)

Fig. 12

Seismogram reproduction, station HNGH, Japan, NS component, Bosch-Omori instrument, from Omori (1903)

Fig. 13

Earthquake description from Omori (1903)

Fig. 14

Seismogram reproduction, station Irkutsk in Russia, Bosch-Omori instrument, from Voznesenskiy (1904)

Fig. 15

Intensity map reconstructed from Voznesenskiy (1904), with isolines for corresponding intensities, the circles show locations for all intensity observations color-coded accordingly, the star shows the epicenter determined in this study

Fig. 16

Arrival times from different seismic stations worldwide from Omori (1907)

Fig. 17

Seismogram reproduction, station Mauritius (MRIH), Milne instrument, from Olaxton (1911)

Fig. 18

Seismogram reproduction, station Hurbanovo (Ógyalla, Stará Ďala), today’s Slovakia, Bosch-Omori instrument from Réthly (1904)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kulikova, G., Krüger, F. Historical seismogram reproductions for the source parameters determination of the 1902, Atushi (Kashgar) earthquake. J Seismol 21, 1577–1597 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10950-017-9683-z

Download citation


  • Historical seismogram reproductions
  • Analogue seismic records
  • Seismic source parameters