Miscellany | Published:


Nature volume 85, pages 342347 (12 January 1911) | Download Citation



AN earthquake of unusual violence occurred in Russian Turkestan at 1.25 a.m. on January 4, or shortly after 11 p.m. on January 3 (Greenwich mean time). At Vyernyi, the chief town of the district, with more than 11,000 inhabitants, the shock lasted for nearly five minutes, and has been succeeded by a large number of after-shocks. Nearly every building in the town is damaged, and all the mud-houses in the neighbourhood have collapsed. The total loss of life is unknown, but forty bodies have so far been recovered from the ruins. It is reported that the whole of the town of Prjevalsk, which is situated on the shores of lake Issik Kul, has been destroyed by the waters of the lake. The extraordinary violence of the earthquake is attested by its effects on the seismographs of distant observatories. At Pulkova, more than 2200 miles from the epicentre, practically all the instruments were thrown out of order. This, was the case even in this country. At West Bromwich, the first tremors were recorded at 11.35 p.m., and soon attained a range of 15 mm. By 11.54 the range was far beyond the capacity of the instrument, and at midnight the east-west needle collapsed. The great movement continued until 12.12 a.m., and the disturbance did not end until 3.56 a.m., giving a total duration of 4½ hours. At Cardiff the maximum movement was registered at 12.14 a.m., arifl was so great that the instrument was deranged. At Limerick all the instruments were dismounted. The earthquake, which is one of the greatest of the last quarter of a century, is evidently a successor of that which occurred on June 9, 1887, when Vyernyi suffered even greater injury than on the recent occasion, owing to the prevalence of stone buildings, which have since been largely replaced by wooden ones.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

About this article

Publication history






    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing