On December 22, 856, an earthquake of magnitude 8 struck the city of Damghan, at that time the capital of the area we now know as Iran.
While the earthquake was centered on Damghan and destroyed most of that city, damage to neighboring areas extended east and west over a two hundred mile stretch of countryside. Every village in this area was destroyed. One third of the town of Bustam, about fifty miles east of Damghan, collapsed. In mountain areas close to the center of the earthquake the surface of the ground parted in several places. Overall, 200,000 people lost their lives. The memory of the event was so vivid that, two generations later, detailed memories of all that had happened were still being recounted.