Today in History: 7 December 1988 Spitak Earthquake killed over 60,000 people of Armenian

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The 1988 Armenian earthquake, also known as the Spitak earthquake, occurred on December 7 at 11:41 local time with a surface wave magnitude of 6.8 and a maximum MSK intensity of X, 25,000 and 50,000 were killed and up to 130,000 were injured and leaves up to 500,000 homeless.

Seismologists thoroughly studied the effects of the Spitak event, including the mainshock and aftershock fault rupture mechanisms, and were on site setting up temporary seismometers before the end of 1988.

Armenia, country of Transcaucasia, lying just south of the great mountain range of the Caucasus and fronting the northwestern extremity of Asia. To the north and east Armenia is bounded by Georgia and Azerbaijan, while its neighbours to the southeast and west are, respectively, Iran and Turkey.The 6.8 magnitude quake affected an area 80km (50 miles) in diameter.

A picture taken on December 10, 1988 in Leninakan, Soviet Armenia shows General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev addressing the people of the city severely stricken by the earthquake.
Mikhail Gorbachev cancelled an official visit to the United States and toured the cities devastated by the earthquake. In a move unprecedented in the Soviet Union, the leader called for the international community to help Armenia.
Coffins are lined in the devastated town of Spitak, on December 12, 1988, after an earthquake hit Armenia, on December 7, 1988.
Coffins in the devastated Spitak. The quake struck at 11:41 local time when children were at school and most adults were at work.
A woman stands near a destroyed building, on December 15, 1988, in the devastated town of Leninakan, after an earthquake hit Armenia, on December 7, 1988.
Most Armenian towns had many Soviet-era high-rise buildings that did not withstand the quake.
Bread is distributed to survivors after an earthquake hit Armenia, on December 7, 1988.
Survivors of the quake scrambling for bread supplies. The Soviet authorities revealed there had been no disaster contingency plans.
Survivors stand in an improvised camp for homeless in the devastated town of Leninakan, on December 15, 1988, after an earthquake hit Armenia, on December 7, 1988.

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The quake displaced thousands of families. Improvised camps for the homeless sprang up in the devastated town of Leninakan and nearby villages.
Survivors comfort each other after an earthquake hit Armenia, on December 7, 1988.
Instead of quickening political change, the earthquake deepened Armenia’s sense of isolation. New cities begun by Moscow in 1989 remained half-built.