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Earthqvakes

Source:  Lake Baikal: atlas. - Irkutsk, 2005. - P. 48-49.

Frequent severe earthquakes occurring in Pribaikalye in the XlX-XXth centuries provoked keen interest in travellers and researchers who explored Siberia. The descriptions of the consequences of some earthquakes, which have preserved and still have scientific significance up to now, are given in chronicles and publications. In the second half of the 1800s, there were some attempts to register earth tremors with self-made devices-seismoscope and seismometer. Russian naturalists spent a lot of forces and energy on studying earthquakes as a geological phenomenon. The first of them was A. Orlov who compiled the first catalogues of earthquakes in Russia. In 1893, "Catalogue of Earthquakes of the Russian Empire" was published with his assistance. These unique proceedings containing the information of about 2500 earthquakes are still one of the most valuable sources of knowledge on the distribution and character of earthquakes in the pre-instrumental period of the Russian seismology.

The opening of the seismic station in Irkutsk in 1901 (the third station in the Russian Empire and the first one in Russia) put an end to the non-instrumental "descriptive" period. The process of development of Russian seismometry and seismology was interrupted during the World War I and Civil War. That situation continued till 1923. By the 1940s there had been published some results summarizing and analysing data on earthquakes in Eastern Siberia. The post-war recovery period of seismic survey started with its reorganization, re-equipment of stations and supply with new devices. The 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s are considered to have been the years of intensive development of the station network in Pribaikalye. The station "Irkutsk" became the Central Seismic Station the main aim of which was to collect, systematize and process all the observed data. In the 1990s, some stations were closed for some reason. However, the network of stations preserved represents a well-coordinated mechanism operating without any interruption. The majority of stations process, systematize and analyse the materials and data with the help of computer technology using special software.

In 1991, a 6-7 degree earthquake with the epicentre in the water area of Lake Baikal not far from town Babushkin happened.

The epicentre of the South-Baikal earthquake of 1999 was located in the southwestern part of Lake Baikal. This is the strongest earth tremor for Southern Pribaikalye for the last 40 years. The intensity of the earthquake in the epicentre reached 7-8 degrees. In large cities of Pribaikalye (Irkutsk, Angarsk and Ulan-Ude) the earthquake was of 4-6 degree intensity. At present, the scientists are working on the improvement of the techniques of revealing the possible places of severe earthquakes and hope to realize them in the coming decade.

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