Earthquake overview : Strong earthquake in Bulgaria. Preliminary Magnitude 5.6 and shallow. Minor damage to buildings.
Tell us when you think you have felt this earthquake.
Bulgaria-only earthquake list
Request for a small donation
Earthquake-Report.com is a non-profit site with no ads. We get only donations from private persons (no companies so far) and 95% of our budget comes from the volunteers working relentlessly at making this site better and better. Your support to keep us Ad-free and independent is highly needed. We welcome the smallest donations as well as company donations who appreciate our work. Click here for a Paypal or Credit Card donation. Click here for our bank details
Keep this page open to read more details when they become available
Summary Update 25/05 – 19:55 UTC
- 59 year old Lidiya Gerasimova from Kuystendil is the only (indirect) fatality of the earthquake. Mrs. Gerasimova died of a heart attack seconds after the earthquake struck.
- This week’s earthquake has been the strongest in its history since 1858, i.e. in 154 years, historical records indicate. In 1858 the Bulgarian capital was only a provincial town in the Ottoman Empire. This earthquake was however a lot stronger than the present one with a Magnitude of 6.6 to 7.0. At the time it is believed that 80% of the housing was damaged. The minarets of 18 of the 24 mosques did collapse. 4 people lost their life during this earthquake. (source courtesy novinite.com)
- 7 areas within Bulgaria can generate earthquake beyond M6.5. Read this interesting article here
- The Kandilli Observatory (Turkey) has reported a 6.4 Magnitude (Ml or Richter Magnitude scale) for the Bulgarian earthquake. USGS has reported a Mw5.6 (Moment Magnitude scale).
Summary Update 24/05 – 22:03 UTC
- PM Borisov had a meeting today with the person in charge of the Bulgarian seismological agency, Prof. Nokolay Miloshev. Mr. Miloshev said to the PM that the chance on a stronger shock is most unlikely and that the aftershocks will be gradually getting weaker. Mr. Miloshev said wkat we have been saying over and over again all over the world, only in a few cases stronger shocks occur after a mainshock. Nobody is able to predict. Science is making progress but we are still far away from a prediction when and how strong the next quake will be.
- The Bulgarian police will start patrolling damaged or heavily hit areas immediately after an earthquake.
- More than 300 aftershocks have been recorded so far, the vast majority could not be felt by people. Since the mainshock 4 aftershocks were in the Magnitude 4 range.
- The inhabitants of Pernik, the city closest to the epicenter, have felt 31 aftershocks, mostly aftershocks measuring 2.5 or stronger.
- People of Pernik are continuing to clean up their homes and collect rubble left behind from the tremors.
- Each Bulgarian family affected by the earthquake will receive a one-time aid allowance of BGN 325 (166 Euro), from the government, Prime Minister Borisov announced.
An ER reader has posted this very interesting information in our comments section :
With regards to the report I would like to state that the Seismic Design codes in Bulgaria were first introduced in the forties and then upgraded in 1987 as consequence of the disastrous earthquake in Strazhica.
The requirements were upped to impose stability up to M9 according to EMS scale (or M7.5 on Richter scale) and recently Eurocode 8 was adopted with even stronger requirements. ( http://bit.ly/JnCZO1 )
So the Codes were there for decades, most of Pernik was built post WWII. There are older buildings of course but most of the houses in Pernik post 60s would be classic RC concrete foundations, columns and beams in a monolithic frame and brickwork as infill between the frame members. Most of the houses were built private and as such not much expense should be expected on the structure (now, there are concerns on new builds but that’s different story). Main concern should be the panel prefabbed block of flats like Teva and Iztok. Lack of maintenance could have been the risk but post event we can see that no critical damage (collapse) is evident. Most of the pictures I have seen was from older houses where typical cracks have formed.
With regards to the geology the Pernik basin is topped with 1.3-1.7 km of sediments ( http://bit.ly/JyB91y )
Update – 22:03 UTC : strong aftershock
A strong M 4.3 aftershock occurred at 21:59 UTC (00:59 local time). Same epicenter area. This strong aftershock happened 18 minutes after the strong Italy aftershock. We do not expect additional damage because of this aftershock but it must surely irritate people a lot. Again when they were sleeping. Some may have slept through it, but a lot will have been jumped out of their bed. The overall opnion of people who also felt the first shaking are now reporting light shaking. A lot of the people will be scared to return to their beds as earthquakes are unpredictable.
Update – 17:21 UTC – aftershocks, Bulgarian building code
- EMSC has listed 3 aftershocks so far today. At 13:57 – M2.8, 14:41 – M3.5 and 16:31 – M2.9 (local times). The second M3.5 earthquake was surely felt well in the Pernik area.
- Authorities are proud to say that the stringent earthquake resistant building code is the real reason for only limited damage (few collapses). The Ferrara earthquake had a similar Magnitude but was far more destructive. Both countries have adopted the EC8 EU building code, but the type of soil and wave propagation may have been completely different.
Summary Update 23/05 – 10:01 UTC – aftershocks, EU aid, inspections, repair funding
- No more M+3 aftershocks since yesterday 20:07 local time
- The authorities have postponed the emergency state in the greater Pernik area until noon today, to finalize the inspection of a lot of buildings and infrastructure.
- Help from Europe ? Probably not, as the condition to get European aid has been set to a damage of at least 0.6 of BNP
- Funds to repair damaged properties will run into millions of €. The same funds will be used for temporary shelters, packaged mails etc. The money will partly come from state funds and partly from a to be organized fund-raising campaign.
- The authorities are claiming that repair work has started to a lot of damaged buildings and infrastructure
- The prime attention of the authorities will go to the repair of schools and hospitals
Summary Update 13:33 UTC
- The people living at the greater Pernik area have to deal with another problem, heavy rain. Some roofs are seriously damaged and it rains inside the houses.
- No massive destruction but a lot of broken glass, brick pieces, mortar to be cleaned
- The overall damage is told to be superficial, but still widespread in the direct epicenter area and in Pernik
- A lot of people who were afraid to re-enter their houses have spend the night in their cars. There are still people doing this at this moment.
- 50% of the people in Pernik are reported to have no drinking water
- The chimney of a thermal power plant collapsed in Pernik
- Bulgaria is one of the European countries who has adopted the European EC8 earthquake resistant building code. New buildings will be surely protected against very strong earthquakes, but older buildings will always be problematic
- 60 aftershocks have been recorded since the mainshock at 00:00 UTC. The majority of these aftershocks are too weak to be felt by people.
Earthquake-Report.com wishes to thank the people who shared their experience with this specialized earthquake site. In doing this you are part of an Open Source Press Agency that informs other people in the country minutes after it happens. These reports may not be underestimated and are as important as the Earthquake data itself.
Update 08:53 UTC : Deputy Prime Minister, Power, Police
- The Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister has stated that there are no casualties, no serious injuries and no significant national infrastructure damage
- The Deputy Prime Minister said that the situation is totally under control
- Power cuts were experienced in Radomir, a town West of Pernik, but the power has been restored now
- Police patrols have been dispatched all over the country to avoid looting while people where out of their houses out of fear for aftershocks
Summary 07:00 UTC :
- 30 people were slightly injured and all have been released from hospital
- 1 house was destroyed in Rudartski. Only slight damage occurred to other buildings like fallen plaster
- Damage assessments are currently been undertaken.
- This was about as damaging as the 1965 earthquake.
Update 06:36 UTC : From the CATDAT Damaging Earthquakes Database, the following major damaging earthquakes have occurred close to this epicenter.
1555, 1641, 1818, 1848 – major damage near this epicentre.
1858 – multiple earthquakes caused major damage in Sofia with 4 deaths.
1904 – multiple large earthquakes in Gabrovo region.
Late 1938 – Damaged houses in Sofia, and overturned chimneys. From a mild earthquake.
According to Associated Press reports, an earthquake caused damage to several houses in Transylvania on August 30 1941
6 April 1942 – A Rome broadcast heard in London, England, reported that a temblor caused damage at the Bulgarian town of Tutrakan. One hundred houses were said to have been destroyed, but there was no report of casualties. BSSA:
28 January 1965 – Bulgaria; slight damage (intensity VII) in the towns of Rodomir and Pernik and in the villages of Kladnitsa and Roudartzi in the mountainous massif about 30 km south-west of Sofia (Grigorova and Rijikova, 1965)
Late 1977 saw damage in the region of Velingrad from a M5.5 earthquake.
Update 06:19 UTC :
30 people have required medical treatment however, no other casualties have been seen. The children’s ward in Pernik hospital was evacuated.
Victims who came to the hospital are numbered around 30, most of which were bruised and lacerated by fallen plaster or objects. These were not serious injuries.
The Pernik fault on which the earthquake occurred has not been activated for 100 years.
Update 03:19 UTC :
One of our Sofia readers reports : The Bulgarian networks report for a demolished house in Rudartsi but no casualties except for some people from Sofia and Pernik suffering from high blood pressure from the stress.
Update 03:08 UTC :
- The last local reports we could see was that 1 house was collapsed to the west of Pernik. A lot of people have been treated for a nervous breakdown, but we have no word on injuries based on the shaking
- A dam in the earthquake area has not been damaged
- We can advise our Bulgarian friends to read the following good article on how to behave during and after an earthquake
- About 30 residents of the city required medical treatment, mainly because of problems with blood pressure after suffering a stress.
Update 02:48 UTC :
- We expect better reports from the 15 km radius of the epicenter in about an hour when daylight will disclose more details. So far we haven’t heard anything from the villages to the west of Pernik and information out of Pernik, a city with 81,000 inhabitants, is extremely limited.
Update 02:24 UTC :
- Another strong aftershock just occurred in the earthquake zone
An Earthquake-Report.com reader is commenting : Keeps shaking, it\’s scary. The first time the walls shook for around 20 secs, bottles, books, frames falling. It increased before easing off, there were two more shakes right away, and two more in an hour and half and in about two hours. Online advice says it\’s better to stay at home, next to an inner wall, a sturdy furniture or under a bed/table, away from mirrors, windows, kitchen and electricity devices. I am alone with the kid, it\’s scary. I feel a series of small aftershocks.
Update 02:24 UTC :
- Entire walls are reported to have collapsed in the Western city of Pernik as a result of the earthquake.
- EMSC has reported a lot of aftershocks so far. 2 of them measured 4.7 and 4.6. Not dangerous for normal constructions but they can make people crazy after an earthquake.
- The Sofia area is not the most dangerous in Bulgaria but nevertheless has been labeled as an area with a potential Magnitude of 7.
Update 02:05 UTC :
- The city of Pernik has a lot of apartment buildings
- The confirmed damage so far is broken windows, fallen chimneys, cracks in walls etc. We are now 2 hours after the mainshock and this is good news. If the damage should have been widespread, the news must certainly have arrived already in Sofia. The Magnitude is dangerous but not as dangerous as initially reported.
- It will take a few hours more until daylight before a better picture can be made from the damage
Update 01:58 UTC :
- Our I Have felt It system can hardly follow with the many experienced we receive from within Balgaria and from the neighboring countries
- Aftershocks in the -5 range are continuing to strike in the epicenter area. Unless houses became unstable, we do expect no serious damage from these aftershocks.
- Our attention goes to the direct epicenter area to the North West of Pernik. The situation is still very chaotic at the moment.
- Local press in Pernil is saying that the epicenter is in between Pernik and Rudartsi. Other people are claiming the epicenter to be in Radomir.
Update 01:41 UTC :
- EMSC has located the earthquake’s epicenter almost below Meshtitsa. The mayor of Pernik was merely concerned about Batanovtsi from were she has received damage reports.
- A bad sign for eventual damage is the merely soft soil in this area. A lot of farming fields means that the wave propagation can be powerful. More or less the equivalent of the Italian earthquake.
Update 01:38 UTC :
- USGS has decreased his Magnitude from 5.8 to 5.6, which is a big difference in energy. Depth remains unchanged.
- EMSC maintains the M5.7 Magnitude at a depth of 10 km.
- So far we haven’t heard from Pernil, which is a bif city very close to the epicenter
- A lot of people are reporting cracks in the walls
- The Mayor of Pernik Rositsa Yanakieva have gone to town Batanovtsi, which is located near Pernik, since there is evidence that has damaged buildings.
Update 01:24 UTC :
- As could be expected, a lot of aftershocks are hampering the area
- There is information about damaged walls, chimneys, plaster, broken windows, etc. Based on our experience, this is a bad sign and will lead to a lot more damage.
- Earthquake-Report.com also fears for the strength of a lot of houses and buildings. They are mostly build out of brick , which if it not reinforced for earthquakes, collapses easily.
Update 01:17 UTC :
- There is no immediate evidence that the power would have been gone.
- The earthquake was followed almost immediately by two aftershocks of almost equal strength.
- The civil protection and fire brigade departments across Bulgaria have been alerted about minor damages to walls, ceilings, and windows. ER : based on our experience, this is only the beginning. We expect more damage as the time passes.
Update 01:12 UTC : Please read the many I Have Felt reports below.
Update 01:11 UTC : The earthquake was well felt in the neighboring countries from Macedonia, Serbia and Greece.
Update 01:10 UTC : “It was terrible, everything shook. All cabinets – open, dropped my toothpaste in the bathroom,” complained a resident of the metropolitan district “Ilinden”.
Update 01:10 UTC : The first earthquake measured M5.8. The depth is still unsure. The shaking went on for about 10 seconds. The mainshock was followed by a M4.7 aftershock.
Update 01:03 UTC : WAPMERR, the theoretical Damage estimate engine expects from 200 to 1500 injured people and from 0 to 200 fatalities. These numbers are often exaggerated, but are based on historic earthquakes and preliminary earthquak date
Update 00:58 UTC : We should be LIVE again. the server had to be rebooted as it was brought down by too many visitors.
Update 00:46 UTC : The people from Sofia, Pernik and all the surrounding towns are gathering in the streets out of fear for aftershocks.
At Earthquake-Report.com we believe that damage will be inevitable.
Update 00:46 UTC : Our Experience Database is unfortunately down, we are sorry for this. Cause : too high demand.
Update 00:45 UTC : Following the theoretical calculations from USGS, 95,000 people will have felt a very strong shaking (MMI VII). MMI VII means for earthquake-report.com a potential danger for damage.
932,000 people will have felt a strong shaking.
Update 00:37 UTC : The earthquake happened 10km from Pernik. The nearest populated places are: Studena (18km), Radomir (14km), Rudartsi (18km), Tsurkva (14km), Rayko Daskalovo (17km). The closest civilian airport is Sofia / Vrazhdebna (32km).
Update 00:32 UTC : Our site has currently a lot of problems to cope with demand
Update 00:27 UTC : Our readers are reporting a moderate to strong shaking in Sofia
Update 00:24 UTC : USGS is reporting a preliminary Magnitude of 5.8 at a depth of 9.1 km.
Earthquake-Report.com considers this earthquake as Very Dangerous
The earthquake struck at only 23 km from Sofia
We are currently gathering information about this earthquake.
The epicenter should be located very close to Pernik.
Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.6 ?
UTC Time : 00:00
Local time at epicenter :
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km ?
23 km (14 miles) W (274°) from SOFIA, Bulgaria
116 km (72 miles) SE (128°) from Nis, Yugoslavia
Links to important maps
USGS Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map showing the epicenter and the surrounding area
Historic earthquakes map
Seismic hazard map
Human impact map
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 19 16:32 PM||2.1||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 19 01:13 AM||2.3||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 17 13:40 PM||3.5||10||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 16 16:58 PM||2.4||4||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 14 15:52 PM||2.4||6||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 09 07:31 AM||2.4||5||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 09 03:08 AM||2.6||1||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 08 09:27 AM||2.8||4||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 04 02:20 AM||2.5||8||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 03 09:17 AM||2.1||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||May 02 10:45 AM||2.4||8||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 29 06:28 AM||2.2||8||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 29 06:19 AM||3.0||2||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 29 02:12 AM||2.1||5||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 29 01:19 AM||2.0||4||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 29 00:08 AM||3.3||2||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 28 22:49 PM||2.1||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 28 22:32 PM||1.9||8||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 28 22:18 PM||3.2||2||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 28 22:04 PM||2.7||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 28 10:27 AM||2.6||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 26 00:06 AM||2.2||15||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 14 14:30 PM||3.3||10||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 10 02:15 AM||2.6||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 09 07:24 AM||2.5||5||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 09 07:09 AM||3.0||2||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 09 07:03 AM||3.3||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 09 06:59 AM||3.0||2||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 08 14:15 PM||2.5||29||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Apr 08 04:28 AM||2.2||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Mar 30 11:52 AM||2.5||10||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Mar 25 17:02 PM||3.1||9||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Mar 22 14:29 PM||2.0||8||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Mar 20 21:55 PM||2.1||8||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Mar 20 11:09 AM||2.1||5||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Mar 08 18:05 PM||2.8||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Feb 26 17:19 PM||2.2||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Feb 26 04:25 AM||2.2||10||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Feb 05 21:43 PM||2.7||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Feb 05 11:34 AM||2.1||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Feb 05 06:06 AM||2.9||2||MAP I Felt It INFO|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Jan 26 09:06 AM||2.6||9||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Jan 23 18:01 PM||2.7||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Jan 20 01:59 AM||2.7||5||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Jan 15 10:34 AM||2.8||2||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Jan 14 19:14 PM||2.3||1||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Jan 13 09:05 AM||2.2||5||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Dec 26 03:58 AM||2.1||1||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Dec 15 11:43 AM||2.0||6||MAP I Felt It|
|EMSC||Bulgaria||Dec 02 20:11 PM||3.1||2||MAP I Felt It|
QuakeSOS+ and QuakeSOS free are iPhone applications developed by Armand Vervaeck, the founder of Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is feeding the users with Earthquake Report news. The 0.99 US$ QuakeSOS+ version will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.
Earthquake-Report.com headlines on twitter
@OnlyQuakeNews : Get all the headlines of our earthquake-report.com articles + regular updates on ongoing events
@QuakeSOS : earthquake-report.com news + automatic earthquake notifications of USGS earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in the America’s and the Pacific Ocean sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was created for our QuakeSOS and QuakeSOS+ iPhone applications
@ShakingEarth : earthquake-report.com news + automatic earthquake notifications of EMSC earthquakes of M 4.0 or higher with emphasis to earthquakes in European and Asian / Middle East sphere (4 and up) and a lot of the rest of the world (5 and up). This account was originally created to stimulate our Facebook account
@QuakeMaps : earthquake-report.com news with mapping notifications of ALL earthquakes M 3.0 and higher from all over the world via EMSC and USGS. This account was created for our http://www.quake-maps.com website