Wednesday 30 December 2020

Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake in central Croatia kills at least seven.

The Centre Sismologique Euro-Méditerranéen recorded a Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km, roughly 3 km to the southwest of the town of Petrinja in central Croatia, slightly before 12.20 pm local time (slightly before 11.20 am GMT) on Tuesday 29 2020. The Earthquake is reported to have caused significant damage, with at least seven fatalities, and was felt across much of Europe. Several aftershocks have been reported following the initial event.

The approximate location of the 29 December 2020 Croatian Earthquake. USGS.

Five of the reported casualties occurred in the village of Glina, which is reported to have been completely destroyed by the Earthquake. A twelve-year-old girl has died in the town of Petrinja, where about half of the buildings were either destroyed or are currently thought unsafe to use. A seventh person was found dead in a collapsed church in the village of Žažina. In addition to the known fatalities, twenty six people are being treated in hospitals for a variety of injuries, and many more have been made homeless by the event, with many being temporarily rehomed in emergency accommodation at a nearby military base. Much of the area has also lost its electricity supplies.

Rescue workers clearing debris and searching for survivors following a Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake in Croatia on 29 December 2020. Damir Sencar/AFP/Getty Images.

Croatia, and the other states of the western Balkan Peninsula, form the eastern margin of the Adriatic Plate, a piece of the African Plate that has broken away and is now wedged into the southern part of the Eurasian Plate. This is being squeezed by the impact of Africa into Europe from the south, which is pushing western Italy, which sits on the Eurasian Plate, to the east, and Greece and Turkey, which sit on the Aegean and Anatolian Plates, to the west. This squeezing leads to uplift around the margins of the Adriatic Plate, in the Apennines Mountain Range of central Italy and the mountain ranges of the west Balkan Peninsula.

Outline map showing the approximate positions of the Eurasian (EU), Adriatic (AD) and African (AF) Plates. Di Bucci & Mazzuli (2003).

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