Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Lichenometry and earthquake age determination in central Asia


THE age of rock surfaces can be determined from the size of lichens growing on them1. We present here measurements of the species Lecidea lactea growing on rocks from the avalanches which occurred after the 1907 (Karatag) and the 1949 (Khait) earthquakes in Tadjikistan, Middle Asia. We show that their forerunning strong earthquakes occurred more than 100–130 yr previously.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Beschel, R. E. Arctic 7 (1957).

  2. Gubin, I. E. Certain Regularities in the Seismic Activities of Tajikistan (Academy Science USSR, Moscow, 1960).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Leonov, N. N. Izv. Acad. Sci. USSR, Geophys. Ser. (1960).

  4. Solonenko, V. P. in Geologic Regularities in and Mutual Relations of Land-slides, Avalanches, and Mountain Mud Flows, Part II (MGU, 1976).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Webber, R. I. & Andrews, I. T. Arctic and Alpine Res. (1973).

  6. Benedict, B. J. Glaciol. 7, 77–78 (1967).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Korolkov, B. Izv. Turkm. sect. Russian geogr. Soc. 9 (1913).

  8. Recent Seismic Dislocations and their Bearing on the Problem of Seismic Microzoning (MGU, 1977).

  9. Nikonov, A. A. Holocene and Recent Crustal Movements (Nauka, Moscow, 1977).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

NIKONOV, A., SHEBALINA, T. Lichenometry and earthquake age determination in central Asia. Nature 280, 675–677 (1979).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


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.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

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