The Spitak Earthquake


Masonry Armenian Church

Collapse of an old stone masonry Armenian church near Leninakan.

The purpose of this compilation--which was developed as a cooperative effort between centers in Russia and the United States--is to provide seismologists around the world with a complete set of data for the devastating earthquake that occurred in Armenia on December 7, 1988.

This set consists of textual and graphical information about the earthquake, a "DOS" and "Microsoft Windows" menu for accessing the data, and a User Manual which discusses the data and explains how to use the access software to display and obtain useful information.

The 1988 Armenian earthquake is unique both in catastrophic effects and in study coverage. Research groups from the former U.S.S.R., U.S.A., France, and Japan studied the earthquake area. The International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Commission of the IASPEI has undertaken creation of the Spitak Earthquake of 1988 database to make the enormous amount of data obtained by these research groups available to the global scientific community.

This project involves a number of diverse geophysical and computer science challenges. The resulting data base contains practically all material relevant to the Spitak earthquake and its aftereffects. It also includes the geological and geophysical information collected during the years prior to the event, important for understanding the event. So far as we know, it is the first data base containing such a complete integrated description of a catastrophic earthquake.

The Spitak Earthquake CD-ROM (and its DOS and Windows-based associated browse and retrieval software) represents an exciting new way to view and understand catastrophic phenomena. Almost 2,000 files and 170 megabytes of data are contained on this CD. The majority of the data consists of descriptive text files and maps, charts, photos, and other graphic images in "pcx" files. Briefly, system requirements are:

  • DOS: Requires 800 Kb hard disk space and 560 Kb memory
  • Windows: Requires 570 Kb hard disk space for the access software