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news 31 Jul 12

Earthquakes Hit Central Bosnia

Two earthquakes which hit Zenica on Monday with a magnitude 4.6 on the Richter scale has frightened thousands of people living in Central Bosnia.

Elvira M. Jukic

An earthquake shook the town of Zenica on July 30, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, and was followed by a weaker one. The epicentre was seven kilometers from the city, and two kilometers in the ground, according to the Federal Institute for Hydrometeorology.

On Monday, many citizens of Zenica went outside of their homes slightly frightened since it was the second time the town was shaken by earthquakes in three days.

Local media reported that a total of 11 earthquakes have occurred since a 4.6 earthquake hit Zenica on Friday night, and shook some neighboring cities, including Sarajevo.

Muriz Spahic, a Sarajevo-based professor at the Natural Sciences Faculty, said Bosnia lies on unstable ground and earthquakes are expected to occasionally occur since the ground “is not finished”.

“Earthquakes are natural processes, which have to happen and cannot be affected,” the professor said explaining that areas of Central Bosnia, Herzegovina, Sarajevo and Banja Luka are sensitive.

Bosnian seismologists say that the area of Herzegovina, in the south of the country, is potentially the most in danger of earthquakes and they may registers higher than 8 on the Richter scale.

Since 1900, the strongest earthquakes to hit Bosnia occurred in Banja Luka in 1969, with a magnitude of 6.4.  It left 15 dead, more than a thousand wounded, and damaged almost 100,000 homes, schools, and cultural, and medical centers.

After the earthquake on Monday morning, the civil protection crews gave instructions to citizens, which reminded them of proper procedures during an earthquake.

Most of the Balkans, and Italy and Turkey, are characterized by increased seismic activity.

Greece had several deathly earthquakes in the last century, with the 1953 Ionian quake causing the most destruction. The earthquake registered 7.2 on the Richter scale and hit the southern Ionian Islands.  It left a total of 600 casualties, following a series of earthquakes that lasted for four days.  

The 1963 Skopje earthquake measured 6.9 on the Richter scale and killed around 1100 people, injured between 3,000 and 4,000 and left more than 200,000 people homeless. Most of the Macedonian capital was destroyed.
The 1979 Montenegro earthquake, which was 7.0 on the Richter scale, devastated the seaside town of Budva as well as few other cities on the coast. More than one hundred people died, while much of the cultural heritage was destroyed.
In 1998, a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit Serbia near the town of Mionica. One person died of a heart attack, 17 were injured and many objects were damaged.

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