The Ashgabat earthquake in 1948: the worst disaster in the Soviet Union

Another 17/02/20 Ashgabat earthquake in 1948: the worst disaster in the USSR

night in October 1948 in the capital of the Turkmen SSR was one of the worst disasters in the history of mankind. The fact that the earthquake happened at night, resulted in a huge number of victims. That is why several decades, the tragedy was classified.

the City is gone

the First push of the residents of Ashgabat felt after midnight on October 6, namely, 1 hour and 13 minutes. Then in 1948, just 3 years after Victory, in the memory of many people still very much alive was the horror of war. Therefore, the first thought of most attended was the idea that enemies dropped on the city of some powerful bomb.

However, the aftershocks continued until dawn. In total there were about a dozen. The magnitude of some of them reached 10-Tibaldi mark on the Richter scale. In order to truly appreciate the power of the Ashgabat earthquake, enough to know that the displacement of the earth’s crust took place then, even in Moscow.

the Capital of Turkmenistan was completely destroyed. Disappeared from the face of the earth all living quarters, administrative buildings, railway station, and on the runway of the local airport formed a giant crack. But the worst thing is that people died, but rather tens of thousands of people, most of them women and children.

Number of deaths

In connection with the massive destruction of the city was not, therefore, until the morning of the Ashgabat disaster no one except the townspeople did not know. By some miracle, managed to send a telegram to Tashkent and to report on the earthquake.

In the Turkmen capital declared a state of emergency. The epicenter arrived more than 30 thousand military, and also representatives of the leadership of the Soviet Union to fight the consequences of natural disasters. There also was organized a hospital for the wounded and evacuation of the surviving local residents.

because Of what happened in Ashgabat in the night from 5th to 6th October, 1948, was classified, the exact number of victims is still not installed. On various assumptions, in the terrible earthquake killed 30 to 170 thousand people.


the First report on the tragedy was published in the media only a few days later. Moreover, the number of deaths at all were reported. It was summed up in one word “many”.

According to experts, the result of rampant disaster would be less disastrous, if not particularly Ashgabat buildings. The fact that in those years most of the houses of the city were built of sun-dried bricks and, of course, did not possess seismic resistance. However, even those buildings that were earthquake resistant elements, too, could not resist. And the main reason was a violation of technology in their construction. Also in Ashgabat at that time, many homes were in disrepair, so after the tremors of such force is left of them but dust.

In 1949, the Turkmen capital began to be rebuilt. It is clear that due to the fact that the city was completely destroyed, lasted for this process than one year.

From the moment when some of the documents in the case finally declassified, namely, since 1995, on 6 October announced in Turkmenistan as the day of remembrance.

© Russian Seven

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