Lessons Learned from the Recent Earthquakes in Iran

  • Mohammad Ashtari Jafari
Part of the Springer Natural Hazards book series (SPRINGERNAT)


Although the understanding of the reasons and impacts of natural disasters and models to compute the frequency and severity of disastrous earthquakes has improved, but a slight increase can be seen in the earthquake deaths as a percentage of the total global deaths. Iran, like other developing counties suffer earthquake causalities and economic damages. The residences and other constructions in Iran especially in small villages and towns are generally built without considering seismic design regulations, so they are highly vulnerable. Comparing yearly earthquake death rates among Iran, Japan and USA during three different periods revealed that while Japan and USA have been reduced their yearly rates; Iran’s status has been worsening. Among the principal causes of high death toll and economic losses in Iran one can refer to: buildings collapse, changes in land use, increases in the concentration of people and capital in high risk areas, fast and uncontrolled urbanization, the persistence of extensive urban and rural poverty, the depreciation of the region’s environment resulting from the mismanagement of natural resources, ineffective public policies, and lagging and misguided investments in infrastructures. Among the important lessons learned from the recent earthquakes in Iran are: fundamental earthquake hazard reduction needs to engage national consciousness at all levels of society, public education, solving the problems in the natural disaster preparedness system and deficiencies in current construction practice.


Oceanic Crust Disastrous Earthquake Destructive Earthquake Alborz Mountain High Death Toll 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abolghasemi, H., Radfar, M., Khatami, N., SaghafiNia, N., Amid, A., & Briggs, S. M. (2006). International medical response to a natural disaster: Lessons learned from the Bam earthquake experience. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 21, 141–147.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmadi, G., Mostaghel, N., Nowroozi, A. A. (1989). Earthquake risk analysis of Iran: Probabilistic seismic risk for various peak ground accelerations. Iranian Journal of Science and Technology B, 115–156.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, M. B., Ghassemi, M. R., Shahrabi, M., & Qorashi, M. (2003). Accommodation of late Cenozoic oblique shortening in the Alborz range northern Iran. Journal of Structural Geology, 25, 659–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen, M., Jackson, J., & Walker, R. (2004). Late Cenozoic reorganization of the Arabia-Eurasia collision and the comparison of short-term and long-term deformation rates. Tectonics, 23, TC2008.Google Scholar
  5. Allen, M. B., Walker, R., Jackson, J., Blanc, J. P., Talebian, M., & Ghassemi, M. (2006). Contrasting styles of convergence in the Arabia-Eurasia collision: Why escape tectonics does not occur in Iran. Memoir Geological Society of America Special Papers, 409, 579–589.Google Scholar
  6. Ambraseys, N. N., & Jackson, J. A. (1998). Faulting associated with historical and recent earthquakes in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Geophysical Journal International, 133, 390–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ambraseys, N. N., & Melville, C. P. (1982). A history of Persian earthquakes. UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Amendola, A., Linnerooth-Bayer, J., Okada, N., & Shi, P. (2008). Towards integrated disaster risk management: Case studies and trends from Asia. Natural Hazards, 44, 163–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2007a). Seismicity characteristics of Central Alborz. Journal of the Earth, 2, 51–64.Google Scholar
  10. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2007b). Time independent seismic hazard analysis in Alborz and surrounding area. Natural Hazards 42, 237–252.Google Scholar
  11. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2008). Lessons learned from the Bam Urban earthquake (pp. 12–17). Paper presented at the 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Beijing, China.Google Scholar
  12. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2009). Short period fluctuations of seismicity around Tehran inferred from “a” and “b” values. Journal of Earth Space Physics, 35, 45–57.Google Scholar
  13. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2010). Statistical prediction of the next great earthquake around Tehran, Iran. Journal of Geodynamics, 49, 14–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2012a). Seismicity anomalies of the 2003 Bam, Iran, earthquake. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 56, 212–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2012b). Teleseismic source parameters of the Rigan county earthquakes and evidence for a new earthquake fault. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 169, 1655–1661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2013a). Spatial distribution of seismicity parameters in the Persian Plateau. Earth Planets Space, 65, 863–869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2013b). Combination of double couple and non-double couple events during the Van, Turkey, 2011 earthquake sequence. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 67–68, 63–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ashtari Jafari, M. (2014). The 16 April 2013 Mw7.8 Ghosht, Iran earthquake. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 87, 26–36. Google Scholar
  19. Ashtari Jafari, M., Hatzfeld, D., & Kamalian, N. (2005). Microseismicity in the region of Tehran. Tectonophysics 395, 193–208.Google Scholar
  20. Bachmanova, D. M., Trofonova, V. G., Hessami, K. T., Kozhurina, A. L., Ivanovac, T. P., Rogozhind, E. A., et al. (2004). Active faults in the Zagros and central Iran. Tectonophysics, 380, 221–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Bamdad, N. (2005). The role of community knowledge in disaster management: The Bam earthquake lesson in Iran. Iran: Institute of Management and Planning Studies.Google Scholar
  22. Berberian, M. (1981). Active faulting and tectonics of Iran. In H. K. Gupta (Ed.), Zagros-Hindu Kush-Himalaya Geodynamic Evolution, AGU Geodynamics Series, pp. 33–69.Google Scholar
  23. Berberian, M. (1995). Natural hazards and the first earthquake catalogue of Iran. IIEES-UNESCO.Google Scholar
  24. Berberian, M. (1997). Seismic sources of the Transcaucasian historical earthquakes. In D. Giardini & S. Balassanian (Eds.), Historical and prehistorical earthquakes in the Caucasus (pp. 233–311). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  25. Berberian, M. (2005). The 2003 Bam urban earthquake: A predictable seismotectonic pattern along the western margin of the rigid Lut block, southeast Iran. Earthquake Spectra, 21(S3), s35–s99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Berberian, M., Jackson, J. A., Qorashi, M., Talebian, M., Khatib, M. M., & Priestley, K. (2000). The 1994 Sefidabeh earthquakes in eastern Iran: Blind thrusting and bedding-plane slip on a growing anticline, and active tectonics of the Sistan suture zone. Geophysical Journal International, 142, 283–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Berberian, M., & Yeats, R. S. (1999). Patterns of historical earthquake rupture in the Iranian Plateau. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 89, 120–139.Google Scholar
  28. Byrne, D. E., Sykes, L. R., & Davis, D. M. (1992). Great thrust earthquakes and aseismic slip along the plate boundary of the Makran subduction zone. Journal Geophysical Research, 97, 449–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Chu, D., & Gordon, R. G. (1998). Current plate motions across the red sea. Geophysical Journal International, 135, 313–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Daniell, J. E., Khazai, B., Wenzel, F., & Vervaeck, A. (2011). The CATDAT damaging earthquakes database. Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Sciences, 11, 2235–2251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Daniell, J. E., Khazai, B., Wenzel, F., & Vervaeck, A. (2012a). Worldwide CATDAT damaging earthquakes database in conjunction with–presenting past and present socio-economic earthquake datapp (pp. 24–28). Paper presented at the 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal.Google Scholar
  32. Daniell, J.E., Khazai, B., Wenzel, F., & Vervaeck, A. (2012b). The worldwide economic impact of historic earthquakes (pp. 24–28). Paper presented at the 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal.Google Scholar
  33. DeMets, C., Gordon, R. G., Argus, D. F., & Stein, S. (1994). Effect of recent revisions to the geomagnetic reversal time scale on estimates of current plate motions. Geophysical Research Letters, 21, 2191–2194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Engdahl, E. R., Jackson, J. A., Myers, S. C., Bergman, E. A., & Priestley, K. (2006). Relocation and assessment of seismicity in the Iran region. Geophysical Journal International, 167, 761–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Fallahi, A. (2007). Lessons learned from the housing reconstruction following the Bam earthquake in Iran. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 22, 26–35.Google Scholar
  36. Freund, R. (1970). Rotation of strike slip faults in Sistan, southeast Iran. Journal of Geology, 78, 188–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Holzer, T. L., & Savage, J. C. (2012). Global earthquake fatalities and population. Earthquake Spectra, 29, 155–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Iranian Studies Group at MIT. (2004). Earthquake Management in Iran, A compilation of literature on earthquake Management.Google Scholar
  39. Jackson, J. (1992). Partitioning of strike slip and convergent motion between Eurasia and Arabia in Eastern Turkey and the Caucasus. Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 12471–12479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jackson, J., & McKenzie, D. (1984). Active tectonics of the Alpine-Himalayan Belt between western Turkey and Pakistan. Geophysical Journal Royal Astronomical Society, 77, 185–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kaila, K. L., Rao, N. M., & Narain, H. (1974). Seismotectonic maps of southwest Asia region comprising eastern Turkey, Caucasus, Persian Plateau, Afghanistan and Hindukush. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 64, 657–669.Google Scholar
  42. Karakhanian, A. S., Trifonov, V. G., Philip, H., Avagyan, A., Hessami, K., Jamali, F., et al. (2004). Active faulting and natural hazards in Armenia, eastern Turkey and northwestern Iran. Tectonophysics, 380, 189–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kopp, C., Fruehn, J., Flueh, E. R., Reichert, C., Kukowski, N., Bialas, J., & Klaeschen, D. (2000). Structure of the Makran Subduction zone from wide angle and reflection seismic data. Tectonophysics, 329, 171–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Manafpour, A. (2005). The Bam, Iran Earthquake of 26 December 2003. Field Investigation Report. Halcrow Group Limited.Google Scholar
  45. McEntire, D. A., Fuller, C., Johnston, C. W., & Weber, R. (2002). A comparison of disaster paradigms: The search for a holistic policy guide. Public Administration Review, 62, 276–91.Google Scholar
  46. McKenzie, D. (1972). Active tectonics of the Mediterranean region. Geophysics Journal of Royal Astronomical Society, 30, 109–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mehrabian, A., & Achintya, H. (2005). Some lessons learned from post-earthquake damage survey of structures in Bam, Iran earthquake of 2003. Structural Survey, 23, 180–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Niazi, M., & Basford, J. R. (1968). Seismicity of Iranian Plateau and Hindukush region. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 58, 417–426.Google Scholar
  49. Nowroozi, A. A. (1976). Seismotectonic provinces of Iran. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 66, 1249–1276.Google Scholar
  50. Nowrouzi, G., Priestley, K., Ghafory-Ashtiany, M., Javan-Doloei, G., & Rham, R. (2007). Crustal velocity structure in Iranian Kopeh-Dagh, from analysis of P-waveform receiver functions. Journal of Seismological Earthquake Engineering, 8, 187–194.Google Scholar
  51. Platt, J. P., Leggett, J. K., & Alam, S. (1988). Slip vectors and fault mechanics in the Makran accretionary wedge, southwest Pakistan. Journal Geophysical Research, 93, 7955–7973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Priestley, K., Baker, C., & Jackson, J. (1994). Implications of earthquake focal mechanism data for the active tectonics of the South Caspian Basin and surrounding regions. Geophysical Journal International, 118, 111–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Reilinger, R., & Barka, A. (1997). GPS constraints on fault slip rates in the Africa-Eurasia plate collision zone: Implications for earthquake recurrence times. In D. Giardini & S. Balassanian (Eds.), Historical and Prehistorical earthquakes in the Caucasus (pp. 91–108). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  54. Sengor, A. M. C., Altiner, D., Cin, A., Ustaomer, T., & Hsu, K. J. (1988). Origin and assembly of the Tethyside orogenic collage at the expense of Gondwana Land. In: Hallam (Eds.) Gondwana and Tethys (Vol. 37, pp. 119–181). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Shoja-Taheri, J., & Niazi, M. (1981). Seismicity of the Iranian plateau and bordering regions. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 71, 477–489.Google Scholar
  56. Spence, R. (2007). Saving lives in earthquakes: Successes and failures in seismic protection since 1960. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, 5, 139–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tierney, K., Khazai, B., Tobin, T., & Krimgold, F. (2005). Social and policy issues following the 2003 Bam Iran earthquake. Earthquake Spectra, 21, 513–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Trifonov, V. G., Karakhanian, A. S., Berberian, M., & Ivanova, T. P. (1996). Active faults of the Arabian Plate bounds, Caucasus and Middle East. Journal of Earthquake Predict Research, 5, 363–374.Google Scholar
  59. Vernant, P., & Chery, J. (2006). Mechanical modeling of oblique convergence in the Zagros, Iran. Geophysical Journal International, 165, 991–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vernant, P., Nilforushan, F., Hatzfeld, D., Abassi, M., Vigney, C., Mason, F., et al. (2004). Present day crustal deformation and plate kinematics in Middle East constrained by GPS measurements in Iran and north Oman. Geophysical Journal International, 157, 381–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wilson, A. T. (1930). Earthquakes in Persia. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 6, 103–131.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeophysicsUniversity of TehranTehranIran

Personalised recommendations