Thursday, 20 January 2022

Most Companies Still Don't Have Croatian Natural Disaster Insurance

January the 20th, 2022 - Most companies and individuals still haven't taken out Croatian natural disaster insurance despite the devastating events of 2020 which saw both the capital and Sisak-Moslavina County in Central Croatia rocked by strong earthquakes.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tomislav Pili writes, despite the record amounts of premiums written out last year, the Croatian insurance sector has warned that a large number of residents, companies and the economy are still exposed to uninsured risks, especially those posed by natural disasters. As the Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO) announced recently, the gross written premium of Croatian insurers last year reached 11.7 billion kuna, which is a significant increase of 11.86 percent when compared to the previous year.

In the non-life insurance segment, total premiums increased by 672 million kuna or 9.15 percent when compared to the previous year, while in the life insurance segment, gross written premiums increased by 8.24 percent annually, reaching 2.9 billion kuna.

"As such, with the great resilience shown by insurance companies in these extremely unstable times over the past couple of years, their stable and secure operations continued and they continued to offer strong support to people through rapid two-way communication and the payment of damages without delay even in extraordinary conditions," they said from HUO.

However, the stable contribution of insurers would be even more significant if a larger number of people had contracted some form of adequate insurance coverage, including Croatian natural disaster insurance such as that issued for earthquakes, according to the umbrella organisation of insurers. Despite the fact that the insurance market in the country is still continuing to develop, ranking third in the Croatian financial market, behind banks and mandatory pension funds, and although slight growth has been achieved, Croatia still lags significantly behind more developed countries.

"The average insurance premium per capita in Croatia last year amounted to 399 euros, while the average at the EU level stood at 2,085 euros. For example, the average insurance premium in the life insurance segment in the EU is 1163 euros, and in Croatia it's 99 euros, in the health insurance segment in the EU it reaches 248 euros, in Croatia it's only 24 euros, while in the property protection segment in the EU it is 178 euros, and in Croatia it's 59 euros, which is a consequence of a lower standard of living, but also people's poorer financial literacy,'' they claimed from HUO.

Citizen awareness

The devastating earthquakes of 2020 raised people's level of awareness, and 2021 was marked by an increase in the number of people taking out earthquake insurance, by an additional 43.4 percent in comparison to 2020.

"In the past couple of years, insurers have paid out 541 million kuna in damages, which is less than half a percent of the total damage caused by the 2020 earthquakes, which clearly indicates that the penetration of this type of insurance is still very low compared to developed markets. The Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO) would like to warn the public that despite the two-year increase, the number of earthquake insurance policies, especially the insurance of residential buildings, is still relatively low throughout Croatia, which is especially significant in light of the fact that Croatia, along with Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Italy, lies in the most tectonicically risky area in Europe,'' the statement said.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Makarska Earthquake 1962 Full Reconstruction after 17 Months: And Zagreb, Petrinja 2020?

January 1, 2022 - The devastating Makarska earthquake of 1962 damaged or destroyed 12,000 homes. Within 17 months everything had been rebuilt. What was possible in Makarska in 1962 is not possible in Zagreb and Petrinja in 2020 - why?

I normally like to start a new year with a positive, and there are certainly lots of positives in Croatia. As I wrote recently in Improving Croatian Tourism: 8 Key TCN Areas of Focus for 2022, TCN will be focusing on several initiatives this year, several of which I look forward to discussing with Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Brnjac, at our meeting next week. And walking around Zagreb last night was certainly a happy and festive experience, as people put the troubled year of 2021 behind them and hope for a brighter 2022. 

But I could just not get the images and conversations of those poor people I saw and talked to in Majske Poljane and Petrinja on the first anniversary of the terrible earthquakes that wreaked so much damage. You can read more in Petrinja Earthquake 1 Year On: Politics, Pain, Problems, But Progress? New Year celebrations in those temporary containers and forgotten, unrenovated houses were probably a lot more muted. 

 

I know that Croatia is very bureaucratic, but is it really so hard to cut through the red tape for a national emergency, such as this? This in a country where the digital nomad permit went from being announced by the Prime Minister in August to becoming law less than 5 months later. 

And then someone sent me this article by Boris Dezulovic, which was published last September. Among several issues, Dezulovic looks at the emergency response and complete renovation after the Makarska earthquake in 1962. Some 12,000 homes badly damaged or destroyed. Makarska completely rebuilt 17 months later. And there was not a little irony in the fact that the current Prime Minister (who was born 8 years after the Makarska earthquake) went to school there - his mother probably experienced the quake and aftermath and rebuild. 

zaostrog3.png

(8-year-old Ivo returned to a renovated home in Zaostrog in May, 1962)

Thanks to Lauren Simmonds for the translation of the article, which is one of the best things I read last year. And at the end, an interview I did a couple of years ago with a friend in nearby Zaostrog, who described the Makarska earthquake and emergency response through the eyes of an 8-year-old who experienced it. An 8-Year-Old's Memory of the Dalmatian Earthquake of 1962.

****

Asked when the first house will be renovated following the Zagreb earthquake of March 2020, the prime minister replied, quoting: "It will happen when it's ready. It will be resolved.'' Almost a year and a half since the Zagreb earthquake. Five hundred and twenty days. Five hundred. And. Twenty. Days. "Nowhere in the world do things move so quickly when it comes to such damage." Nowhere? Really?

On Sunday, March the 22nd, 2020, shortly after 06:00 in the morning, Zagreb was hit by a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale. One person died in the devastating natural disaster, and about twelve thousand buildings were damaged: red stickers, as unusable and intended for demolition, and yellow, as temporarily unusable, were received by a total of nineteen hundred buildings.

On the sixth day after the quake, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković toured the damaged city. Asked by reporters how, given the lack of builders, he would solve the problem of urgent reconstruction and demolition of damaged houses, Prime Minister Plenković replied that, and I quote, "the Ministry of Construction will solve it, they will prepare a law on reconstruction."

They didn't rush when it came to passing that law because - as Prime Minister Plenković explained in Parliament - "such a long-term law cannot and must not be passed hastily". And it it most definitely hasn't been: the Law on the Reconstruction of the City of Zagreb was passed by the Parliament almost half a year later. In November - seven and a half months after the earthquake - the Fund for Reconstruction of the City of Zagreb was established, tasked to, and I quote, "perform professional and other tasks of the preparation, organisation and implementation of the reconstruction of buildings damaged by the earthquake, and monitor the implementation of reconstruction measures." The Reconstruction Act. The Reconstruction Fund. The preparation, organisation and implementation of said reconstruction. Seven and a half months after the earthquake.

"This is a symbol of the beginning of the renewal of Zagreb!"

Damir Vanđelić, the then director of the Reconstruction Fund, announced the above on TV, referencing Ruža Sever's house in Gornja Dubrava, the first badly damaged building to be demolished in this utterly magnificent renovation project. The owner of the house could not share the same enthusiasm: her house, "a symbol of the beginning of the reconstruction of Zagreb", was demolished on June the 10th, 2021 - a whole year and three months after the earthquake! - and this poor woman actually died in the meantime.

Until the conclusion of this text, the Ministry of Construction had received about a thousand and a half requests for the removal of severely damaged buildings: of these one and a half thousand requests, the Ministry approved as many as twenty-one. How many have been demolished to date, you might add? Well, if we add in Ruža's house in Dubrava, that figure is exactly three in total. Three demolished houses. Of a thousand and a half. Three. It's much easier to add up the renovated ones: out of twelve thousand damaged buildings, the Ministry approved the renovation of three hundred and sixty of them. A total of zero have been renovated to this date. Or, if it's easier for you, none. Not a single one. Seventeen months since the earthquake.

Knowing that out of as much as five billion and one hundred million kuna from the European Solidarity Fund, Croatia has so far spent only one and a half million in eight months, it is no longer a question of why only one and a half million, but the question of what those funds have even gone to. The President of the Zagreb Assembly, Joško Klisović, therefore announced the other day that a proposal would be urgently taken to temporarily take care of people still being affected by the earthquake in city apartments. A temporary measure. By urgent procedure. Last Wednesday. Seventeen months after the fact.

Finally, aware of minor difficulties in the reconstruction process, Prime Minister Plenković announced an amendment to the Law on the Reconstruction of the City of Zagreb. True, they did need to wait a little while, because Parliament was on a summer break, but "such a long-term law" you know, "cannot and must not be passed quickly'' anyway.

"We will correct it all and the matter will accelerate," Plenković explained briefly, and when asked by a journalist if it all might be a little too late, he replied, quoting: "Well, it will be resolved. Once we look into it, the dynamics of reconstruction will start going. Nowhere in the world do things move so quickly when it comes to such damage." Asked when the first house will be renovated, he replied, quoting: "It will happen when it's ready."

It will happen when it's ready. It will be resolved. Almost a year and a half. Five hundred and twenty days. Five hundred. And. Twenty. Days. "Nowhere in the world do things move so quickly when it comes to such damage." Nowhere? Really?

On Sunday, January the 7th, 1962, Makarska was hit by a strong earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale. Four days later, on January the 11th, shortly after 06:00 in the morning, it was topped off by another, catastrophic earthquake of magnitude 6.1 on the Richter scale. In those devastating earthquakes, thousands of tonnes of boulders from Biokovo became loose and fell, ending the lives of two people, about three hundred houses were razed to the ground, and another five hundred and fifty were about to join them: a total of twelve thousand houses were damaged, with almost three thousand beyond repair, just like in Zagreb sixty years later.

Less than an hour and a half after the earthquake, the municipal headquarters decided to evacuate Makarska, and twenty military and Jadrolinija ships - the Adriatic Highway was not yet there - were transporting people to the safety of Split all day. By the end of the day, a thousand and a half tents had arrived by Istranka boat, and two large camps were set up outside the city and four supply centres were organised: by that very evening, only two hundred people remained in the entire city. A total of nineteen thousand people were evacuated from the entire district, and six thousand from Makarska itself, placed in Split, Zagreb and other cities, where children from the affected families were immediately included in school classes so as to not miss out on their education.

On the sixth day, President Josip Broz Tito visited Makarska and other damaged places. When asked by local government representatives how, given the lack of builders, they'd solve the problem of the urgent renovation and demolition of the damaged houses, President Tito replied that, and I quote, "young people and all able-bodied men should be returned immediately to help rebuild."

Ten days later, the County Board organised the first working groups and brigades, and formed the District Headquarters, and the Committee for Reconstruction and Assistance to Earthquake Victims was established, headed by Ivan Gac. The Urbanism Council of the Makarska National Committee then accepted the proposal of geological experts on the location of hotel pavilions for the temporary accommodation of earthquake victims, which would then be intended for tourism: in Makarska and Tucepi, six hundred beds were set up, and in Podgora, Igrane and Zivogosce, four hundred also appeared. The Government of the People's Republic of Croatia, led by Jakov Blažević, then made an urgent decision to grant favourable long-term loans to help the economy of the Makarska Riviera.

And all that by the end of the month. Twenty days since the earthquake.

By July 1962, about four billion dinars of aid had been collected from the budgets of the Federation and the People's Republic of Croatia, and from companies and individuals, and another billion and one hundred million dinars had been reserved for the local economy in the affected area. Considering that the old settlements near Biokovo had suffered the most, a decision was made not to rebuild those old villages, but to instead move the population down, so they'd be along the coast. People received favourable loans, municipalities provided land, building permits and projects without all of the classic, toilsome bureaucratic formalities and taxes, and local cooperatives provided construction loans. By the summer of 1962, about one hundred and eighty building permits had been issued in Podgora alone, between the sea and the newly laid Adriatic Highway.

Only six months after the earthquake had struck - it was announced that more than seven hundred apartments had already been renovated in the Makarska district, about as many were still in the process of renovation, five hundred new apartments were under construction, and another thousand were being prepared. Seven hundred renovated apartments. So much more were also in the process of renewal. Five hundred were under construction. Preparations were underway for another thousand. Six months after the earthquake. Six months.

Finally, after seventeen months, on June the 8th, 1963 - the five hundred and twentieth day since the earthquake! - in Slobodna Dalmacija, a short news item was published that "there are no more traces of last year's earthquake on the coast in Makarska": "The entire pavement spanning two hundred and fifty metres has been renovated and covered with brand new white stone slabs."

It was, as one would say, "the symbol of the end of the reconstruction of Makarska". Five hundred and twenty days. Seventeen months. In Makarska. Before modern mechanisation, before the Internet, before the highway, before tourism. Almost sixty years ago.

There is also someone who remembers it particularly well, even though he was born eight years after the earthquake struck. Namely, his mother is from Makarska, where he himself lived as a boy, and his grandfather Marin and grandmother Mila from Podgora often told him about that terrible day when Biokovo collapsed. Just like those children from back in 1962, he went from Makarska to primary school in Zagreb, and later made a nice political career there and even became the prime minister. When he himself experienced a terrible earthquake in Zagreb many years later, the newspapers were spilling over with his words:

"Nowhere in the world," he said confidently at the time, "do things move so quickly when it comes to such damage."

The original artice appeared in Croatian in Portal Novosti on September 3, 2021.

Read more An 8-Year-Old's Memory of the Dalmatian Earthquake of 1962.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Croatian Seismologist Tomislav Fiket Talks Earthquakes and Croatia

December the 9th, 2021 - Croatian seismologist Tomislav Fiket has stepped out to discuss all things earthquake in relation to Croatia following the devastating natural disasters which struck Zagreb back in March 2020 and Central Croatia at the very end of December.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, over the past year and a half, earthquakes in Croatia's general area have become almost commonplace. Zagreb, Petrinja, the Adriatic, the hinterland of Sibenik, Split, down south in Dubrovnik... Is this really a time of more seismic activity or are we just a little more sensitised to this news now following what we experienced in 2020?

''The situation in the Petrinja area is calming down a bit now, which is good news for everyone who lives there, because I'm sure they're already tired of quakes and tremors. We hope that this is coming to an end, that it will stop soon. The fact that the earthquakes in that area are getting weaker doesn't mean that there may not be a stronger earthquake, there is and can be no such regularity. This is shown through this time. It's all normal for some earthquakes stronger than three according to the Richter scale to appear here and there,'' warned Croatian seismologist Tomislav Fiket, who was a recent guest on the show "Good morning, Croatia/Dobro jutro, Hrvatska".

Here in the Republic of Croatia, devastating earthquakes occur on average every 45 years, but that does not mean that they will happen now and then again only in 45 years.

''It can happen that they all occur over a period of just a couple of days, and then they don't happen again for as long as 100 or 200 years. Those 45 years could turn into every 100 years. He mentioned the Pokupje earthquake which occurred way back in 1909, and shortly afterwards, in 1916, the Vinodol earthquake struck.

''It can and has happened throughout history. We were lucky that the last strong earthquake (other than those of 2020) occurred back in 1996 in Ston. It is impossible to predict when an earthquake will occur. The most seismically active area in the world, as far as earthquakes are concerned, is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

''This is the area where these large tectonic plates collide, there is a lot of seismic activity. Japan is the best example of this, earthquakes happen there that are much stronger than these which occur in this country, we're very lucky as far as that's concerned, but they're also much better prepared for such events than we are,'' concluded Croatian seismologist Tomislav Fiket for the aforementioned show.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Croatian Seismologist Kresimir Kuk Talks Ins and Outs of Earthquakes

September the 26th, 2021 - As Central Croatia continues to battle with earthquakes of varying strengths with the horrid memory of the devastating one which struck Petrinja in December last year still fresh in collective memory, Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk seeks to answer some pressing questions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, just a few days ago, two moderate earthquakes hit the Banovina area once again. At 01:32, seismologists from the Seismological Service recorded a moderate earthquake with the epicentre near Petrinja. The magnitude of the earthquake was 3.7.

Following that, seismologists from the Seismological Service recorded another moderate earthquake with the epicenter near Cuntic, a mere eight kilometres south of Petrinja. The magnitude of that earthquake was 3.6. 

Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk told RTL.hr that these earthquakes are part of a series of earthquakes that are still unfolding and which started with the main Petrinja earthquake which caused sheer devastation back on December the 29th, 2020.

"These earthquakes aren't coming as a surprise us. We've said many times that these sorts of series of them go on. The fact is that in the last month, I'd venture to say, we've had more frequent earthquakes and greater seismic activity and slightly stronger earthquakes than some multi-month average,'' explained Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk.

He also commented on the thesis that appeared on social media that the Petrinja fault had finished ''rocking'' and that the Pokupsko fault is now the active one, which is why many people were worried that there could be a stronger earthquake along the Pokupsko fault yet to come.

"All of it is a fault zone. We have a few bigger ones that are better known. The whole area is seismically active and this is a normal, common occurrence. We can say that the epicentres migrate. We have the entire area between Sisak, and even further down south, the entire radius of a few 10 kilometres around Sisak or Petrinja and the narrower epicentral area, we have earthquakes there that constantly occur for several months. They go down to Jasenovac and then go a little north, north-west... and that's normal. It isn't that one fault was activated by another, but rather that we have an epicentral area that is active,'' Cuk said.

After the Petrinja earthquake, about 40 accelerographs and seismographs were installed in the Banovina area. Croatian seismologist Kresimir Cuk said a lot of earthquakes are still being recorded in the area and that the data they're collecting is being constantly looked into and more deeply analysed.

"We're getting large amounts of valuable data that will provide some significant information about this earthquake in Petrinja for many years to come," Kuk said.

Asked whether the Petrinja earthquake may have relieved the energy in some of Zagreb's own faults, such as the Kasinski fault, Kuk said that the interaction of the two epicentral areas would take much longer to see and that only time would tell how truly interconnected they are.

“The fact is that they're far enough away that they aren't directly connected. The Medvednica epicentral area is still active, which is normal, but it's weakly active and it's rare that we have earthquakes which are actually noticed. That's something to be expected. When they do occur, then they release energy, but it's more about establishing a new equilibrium state after the events of the main earthquakes and a series of subsequent earthquakes. It's the establishment of a new equilibrium that will last for some time,'' he said.

He also said that the thesis that it is better to have more small earthquakes that will relieve the energy that accumulates on a fault is theoretically justified.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Once in 500 Years: Professor Ante Mihanovic Talks Adriatic Sea Quakes

March the 30th, 2021 - Professor Ante Mihanovic has discussed the recent repeated Adriatic sea earthquakes which Croatia has experienced over the last 60 hours or so.

It goes without saying that we in Croatia are sick to the back teeth of experiencing earthquakes or even seeing the word after what happened in Zagreb back in March 2020 and then the devastating situation which struck the Sisak-Moslavina area at the very end of December last year - putting the cherry on top of what was an utterly horrendous year.

Despite our newly developed proverbial allergy to the word earthquake, nobody can deny that these natural movements of the plates of the planet on which we live are both fascinating and terrifying. The Adriatic sea has experienced many quakes over the last couple of days or so (read about them here), and Professor Ante Mihanovic of the University of Split has taken to explaining the situation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Professor Ante Mihanovic spoke to HRT about the recent quakes and the fact that the soil in Dalmatia is quite active these days, he said that although it might seem unnerving, it isn't something that should worry us at all.

''The collision of the African and Indo-European tectonic plate is passing through the Mediterranean area. Everything that is happening is within the scope of what we already know, the Adriatic part itself isn't so seismically endangered and the data shows that there are essentially no strong earthquakes occuring, except in two locations, the Palagruza zone and the Jabuka zone,'' explained Professor Ante Mihanovic from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the University of Split.

He added that the earthquake as it happened on March the 27th, 2021, which was 5.5 on the Richter scale and 10 kilometers from the epicentre, was a rare sort of earthquake, so rare that quakes of that type only occur once in 500 years.

''As far as the return period is concerned, it's unlikely that a stronger earthquake will occur here. Its effect is minor for us, only Palagruza was shaken so there is no special damage, except for the situation playing on our fears,'' assured Professor Ante Mihanovic.

For all current coronavirus information specific to Croatia, including travel and borders rules, as well testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark this page.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Magnitude 3.6 Quake Rocks Glina Area

ZAGREB, 8 March, 2021 - A magnitude 3.6 earthquake was registered in the Glina area, Sisak-Moslavina County at 1.44 pm on Monday, Croatia's Seismological Survey said.

Sisak-Moslavina County in central Croatia was struck by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake on 29 December, killing seven and causing enormous damage.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake Hit Petrinja and Sisak Area, Felt in Zagreb

February 18, 2021 – A rather strong earthquake hit the Petrinja and Sisak area today at around 1:08 pm. It was also felt in other parts of Central Croatia, mostly in Zagreb.

Today, February 18, 2021, at 1:08 pm, seismologists from the Croatian Seismological Service recorded a relatively strong earthquake with the epicenter not far from Petrinja, near Glinska Poljana. The magnitude of the quake was 4.0 according to Richter and the intensity in the epicenter of the 5th degree of the EMS scale.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) estimates the earthquake's magnitude was 4.2. The epicenter was 17 km northwest of Sisak and 45 km from Zagreb, at a depth of 2 km.

Citizens from all over central Croatia report they felt the earthquake – from Zagreb, Karlovac, Velika Gorica, Sisak, Petrinja, Varaždin – and even from Ptuj in Slovenia. In just a few minutes, the EMSC collected thousands of earthquake reports. According to citizens' reports, the earthquake was a short but strong blow and waving.

"At first, it seemed to rumble, and then it shook for a few seconds," said one witness.

"About five seconds of good shaking in the Maksimir area. Another intensive aftershock," said another witness.

"A hit, then prolonged rocking, six to seven seconds duration," are some more of the comments from witnesses.

As Index reports, the earthquake was felt even during the Government session in the National and University Library in Zagreb.

"Here, we have just felt an earthquake in the National and University Library," Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during the session.

After this first blow, two more slight tremors hit Sisak and its surroundings, magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale. The EMSC reports that these are all aftershocks of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Petrinja and Sisak-Moslavina County on December 29, 2020, and left many damages.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 22 January 2021

EP Adopts Resolution on Mitigating Consequences of Croatia Earthquakes

ZAGREB, 22 January, 2021 - Members of the European Parliament on Thursday adopted by a vast majority a resolution on mitigating the consequences of last year's earthquakes in Croatia, asking that all available EU instruments be used to help the country.

The resolution was supported by 677 MEPs while five voted against and one abstained.

Participating in drafting the resolution, initiated by Croatian MEP Valter Flego, were all Croatian members of the European Parliament.

The draft resolution "calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the EU and Croatian institutions, to devise a swift way of distributing the necessary financial and other assistance to ensure a speedy recovery of the affected areas."

In approving financial aid, the Commission is called upon to take account of the fact that Croatia is at the same time also dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Croatia is called upon to prioritise "renovation in its recovery and resilience plan, devoting particular attention to comprehensive preventative renovations that ensure the highest seismic standards for housing and buildings at greatest risk in its most earthquake-prone regions."

Croatia is called upon to carefully monitor post-earthquake reconstruction to make sure the highest seismic standards are ensured for all buildings and infrastructure. 

The document says that the reconstruction process should be carried out as swiftly as possible, respecting transparency, applying best professional practices and taking account of the demographic aspect. Special focus should be placed on building the basic infrastructure that was lacking prior to the earthquake and access to basic needs and services should be promptly re-established in all parts of the affected areas.

The Commission is called upon to extend the 18-month time limit for the use of funds from the European Solidarity Fund in the event of a devastating earthquake.

The document also stresses the importance of prioritising residents of the affected areas for COVID-19 vaccination and encourages the Croatian government to implement the decision it has announced to redirect a significant proportion of its vaccine supply to Sisak-Moslavina County. 

The resolution also welcomes the decision of EU member states to give part of their vaccination supplies to Croatia.

Last year Croatia was struck by two strong earthquakes that were followed by a number of aftershocks. On 22 March, a 5.5 earthquake shook Zagreb and two adjacent counties, killing a 12-year-old girl and damaging over 26,000 buildings. On 29 December, a 6.2 earthquake struck Sisak-Moslavina County, killing seven people and demolishing over 30,000 buildings.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Croatian Geological Survey: Earthquakes Caused By Activation of Two Vertical Fault Systems

January 5, 2021 – The Croatian Geological Survey issued a statement on the recent earthquakes in Petrinja, Sisak, Glina, and the surrounding areas. To their knowledge, the activation of two mutually vertical fault systems caused the earthquakes.

Here is the entire press release of the Croatian Geological Survey (HGI).

The active tectonics of the entire area of Croatia, including the wider epicentral area of Pokupsko-Petrinja-Sisak, is caused by the continuous movement of the Adriatic lithospheric microplate (Adria) to the north. Therefore, in the upper parts of the Earth's crust, great strains occur at the contact of the Dinarides and the Pannonian Basin. When the strain reaches a critical level, individual faults from that system are (re)activated. There is a sudden movement of kilometers blocks of crust with dimensions of several hundred to thousands of cubic kilometers. As a result, a massive amount of energy is released, and earthquakes occur.

According to preliminary geological analyzes of Croatian Geological Survey's scientists and experts, based on geological maps, numerous field data published in the media, field prospecting, available seismological, and preliminary satellite data, the earthquake that hit Petrinja and its surroundings on December 28, 2020, activated the fault system in the underground of the broader area of Sisak, Petrinja, and Glina. (photo below)

Slika-1.-Geoloska-karta-podrucja-Petrinje-i-Siska-s-naglasenim-glavnim-rasjedima.jpg

Geological map of the Petrinja and Sisak area with highlighted main faults from activated fault systems that caused earthquakes on 28 and 29 December 2020. / Croatian Geological Survey

It is evident that it is the intersection of longitudinal and transverse faults on the extension of the Dinarides. Both fault systems consist of multiple faults with horizontal wing movement (strike-slip). One is the lesser-known fault, which on this occasion is marked as the left Petrinja fault, and the other is the better-known right Pokupsko fault. Such a fault system is a textbook example of deformations that occur in rock due to compression stress along the north-south axis.

Both fault systems are shown on the Basic Geological Map of the Republic of Croatia 1: 100,000, page Sisak, prepared by the Institute of Geology HGI (Pikija, 1987), and on the overview geological map of the Republic of Croatia 1: 300,000 (HGI, 2009). All geological maps covering the territory of the Republic of Croatia are available on request on the Croatian Geological Survey's website.

Due to a large amount of released energy during the movement of fault wings, ruptures in the rocks were manifested on the surface of the terrain, so in the wider epicentral area along fault lines, we find various surface manifestations of this movement and vibration of the terrain: open cracks and paraclasses, fluid spills, sand volcanoes due to liquefaction in the Kupa and Sava river basins, deformations of the surface of the terrain and infrastructural line facilities, and numerous other, hitherto unusual phenomena for our area, which can also cause various subsequent geohazard events. Part of the deformation of the terrain between Petrinja and Glina is probably due to the collapse of the underground corridors of the brown coal mines that operated in the first half of the 20th century and were not adequately rehabilitated (buried).

More data and details on the activated fault system will be available upon completing field research by the Croatian Geological Survey's teams.

Dr. sc. Tvrtko Korbar, scientific advisor of the Croatian Geological Survey

For more on the Petrinja earthquake and to see how you can donate money, food, humanitarian, sanitary and material aid, follow our dedicated section.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Petrinja Area Hit by 374 Tremors, Including 109 in Past Two Days

ZAGREB, 2 January, 2021 - The Petrinja area has been hit by 374 tremors since 28 December, including 109 over the past two days, the Zagreb Faculty of Science Department of Geophysics said on Saturday.

The first earthquake was registered at 6.28 a.m. on 28 December, measuring 5 on the Richter scale.

The strongest one struck Petrinja, Glina and Sisak at 12.19 p.m. on 29 December, measuring 6.2.

By 31 December, the area was hit by 265 tremors with magnitudes above 1 on the Richter scale.

Sixty-nine tremors were registered on 1 January and another 40 by 2 p.m. today.

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