Deep moderate Vrancea earthquake worries Romania

Also written by Szombath Balazs
Earthquake overview : At 05:40 on October 4 a Vrancea deep earthquake measuring 4.7 magnitude made the Romanian people nervous. The epicenter was located in a wilderness area near Plostina. Biggest cities in the area are Focsani and Brasov. The earthquake was also well Felt in the capital Bucharest.
Pe data de 4 octombrie un cutremur de mare adancime, masurand 4.7 magnitudine a avut loc la 05:40, ora locala. Epicentrul a fost langa Plostina. Orase mari din zona sunt Focsani si Brasov. Cutremurul a fost simtit si in capitala, Bucuresti.
"I have Felt it" Reports --> see below + Let us know "how you have felt this earthquake"
To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).

This article is partly in Romanian and English

Keep this page open or return regularly as we will be back with more details when they become available

Read also : Vrancea earthquake zone : one of the most active seismic areas in Europe (Carpathians).

Update 14:12 UTC : Some Romanian press is predicting another magnitude 6 earthquake later this year. condemns such predictions as NOBODY IN THE WORLD can with a great certainty predict earthquakes. Science is making progress but we are far from a better than a lottery prediction. DO NOT BELIEVE earthquake predictions but BE PREPARED to survive them if it happens.  Your telephone will NOT ring to announce an earthquake.
Au inceput sa apara stiri care prevestesc un cutremur mai puternic anul acesta in Romania. Cele mai multe dintre ele fac referire la un cutremur de cel putin 6 grade magnitudine. condamna astfel de predictii din simplul motiv ca NIMENI IN LUMEA ASTA nu poate sa spuna cand sau unde va lovi un cutremur. Stiinta face pasi in aceasta privinta dar suntem departe de Loterii stiintifice. NU CREDETI in aceste predictii dar FITI PREGATITI pentru cutremure pentru a trece cu bine prin ele!

UPDATE 13:20 UTC:  Cutremurul s-a produs s-a produs in jurul orei 5:40, la o adancime de 134 km. Epicentrul a fost aproape de Focsani, la o distanta de 52 km de oras. A fost simtit si in capitala, Bucuresti. Sepcific zonei Vrancea cutremurele de mare adancime sunt simtite pe o arie larga. Zona Gura Teghii a fost activa in aceasta perioada prin seisme produse la adancimi mai mari de 130 km. Magnitudinea a fost diferita in statiile seismice deoarece propagarea este neuniforma. Acceleratia din Bucuresti a fost mai mare fata de inregistrarile din Vrancea. Seismul este important pentru ca s-a produs in zona de neliniaritate a energiei. Multumim I.R.S.A. (Institutul Roman de Seismologie Aplicata) pentru informatii.  

UPDATE 9:24 UTC: The site of NIEP (National Institute for Earth Physics) gives a magnitude of 4.8 at 134 km depth. The site was down for a while due to high traffic. 

Today's earthquake's hypocenter was at 128.4 km at a normal expected depth for Romanian Vrancea earthquakes. Contrary to most other earthquake locations in Europe, Romania has a specific deep faulting zone.

The epicenter was located right in the highest seismic hazard area (see map at right (dark red). This area has the biggest peak ground acceleration in Romania.

As we are aware of all this, we have covered the specific Romanian, Vrancea seismic area with an in-dept article who is hopefully informative enough to understand what is going on.

These deep earthquakes are mostly harmless unless that they are reaching magnitudes greater than 6.5

One of the specific aspects of a deep earthquake is that they are felt in a very wide area almost the same way. The shock waves are radiating from deep under the surface in a width area of several 100 km. The distance of 128 km to the surface also means that the intensity is very much weakened. The epicenter location of deep earthquakes is less important than with shallow earthquakes.

1977 Vrancea earthquake
The 1977 Vrancea Earthquake occurred on Friday, 4 March 1977, 21:20 local time and was felt throughout the Balkans. It had a magnitude of 7.2 and its epicenter in Vrancea (in the Eastern Carpathians) at a depth of 94 kilometers.
The earthquake killed about 1,578 people, of which only 1,424 in Bucharest, and wounded more than 11,300.
Among the victims was the Romanian actor Toma Caragiu.
About 35,000 buildings were damaged, and the direct loss was estimated at more than two billion dollars. Most of the damage was concentrated in Romania's capital, Bucharest, where about 33 large buildings collapsed. Most of those buildings were built before World War II, and were not reinforced. Many of the historic buildings that collapsed were not rebuilt; instead, the land was cleared for the building of the Palace of the Parliament. After the earthquake, the Romanian government imposed tougher construction standards. (source Wikipedia)

"I Have Felt It" reports as received by
Judetul covasna: La ora 5:41 sa simtit cutremurul.

EMSC Felt Reports
Focsani: It is scare my 3 week`s dother from sleep.
Buzau: on the 10th floor is so quiet and swaying
Brasov: I noticed the roar sound that impressed me. I heard it like no other times before.
Brasov: Bed was shaking three times, windows rattled a little
Brasov: A small shake for about 2 seconds
Brasov: a litle shake wake me
Ploiesti: It was a very short, quite strong one. first it was like something heavy felt on the ground. Then, a little bit later, a short strong trembling come. I woke up 10 minutes earlier because of a headache.
Ploiesti: At 7-7.30 PM on the 3 oct. my wife tell my : On this night is it an earthquake because the sun and the sky is it like in the night before last earthquake .I think that is it a important observation . Normal, I smile, but on the next time will be very careffuly.
Urziceni: I wake up because i was sleeping with noise of windows and movement of the bad...
Bucharest: Premier séisme je me demandais ce qui se passait; je ne dormais pas mais était au lit
j'ai senti une drôle de vibration, la fenêtre  a vibré et j'entendais le batiment craquer un peu (ou comme si de schats sautaient tout autour). Et là, le lit s'est mis à trembler 2 fois dans 2 directions différentes,avant arrière puis latéralement. Assez étrange et impressionnant pour moi! je dirais que cela n'a pas dureé plus de 6-7 secondes en tout
Bucharest: ieri, toate pisicile mele se comportau foarte ciudat, se loveau de usa cu capul, ca sa iasa afara. In timpul cutremurului, bucatile de lemn din parchet s-au miscat, acum trebuie sa le pun la loc. Nu s-a intamplat nimic rau, slava Domnului
Bucharest: There were three tremors. First, a slightly fainter one that lasted about a second or two, then, perhaps four or five seconds later, two more tremors, more noticeable, which seemed to last a couple of seconds each. Perhaps I noticed them better because I had been alerted by the first one.
Bucharest: Lasted at least 5 seconds. Woke me up from a deep sleep with relative strong shaking for about 5 seconds. I live in Bucharest – Obor neighborhood, on the 8-th floor of a 10 story building.

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 4.7
UTC Time : Tuesday, October 04, 2011 at 02:40:48 UTC
Local time at epicenter : Tuesday, October 04, 2011 at 05:40:48 AM at epicenter
Depth (Hypocenter) : 128.4 km
Geo-location(s) :
Approx. 30 km from Nehoiu
57 km (35 miles) NNW of Buzau, Romania
65 km (40 miles) E of Brasov, Romania
130 km (80 miles) N of BUCHAREST, Romania

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
Focal mechanism report


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I did feel it – Ik heb het gevoeld – Το έκανα αισθάνεται Yo lo he sentido – 我的确感到了 – 私はそれを感じていました- Ich habe es gefühlt – Bunu hissediyorum yaptı – لم أشعر أنه


  1. Hello from Romania!
    Allow me to make a few comments:
    Major earthquakes in Romania are split in 2 categories:
    1. Major non-destructive earthquakes, measuring 6,5 to 7,0 on Richter scale
    2. Major destructive earthquakes, measuring above 7,05 on Richter. The biggest known earthquake in recent history occured in 1802, at 150km depth (est 7,9 magnitude) and was felt beyond Moscow...
    Each century has 5 to 7 major shocks, among which 2 or 3 above 7,05. All earthquake predictions are focused on the destructive ones.
    There are 3 depths of occurence:
    1. 70 to 110 km depth, with major effects towards SW, capital city Bucharest, Bulgaria e.g. The 1977 7,4 MGR quake was recorded in Italy...
    2. 120-135 km depth, with effects balanced SW-NE, such as 1908 and 1986. A destructive earthquake at this depth did not occur in the past 200 years!!!
    3. 140-150 depth, with effects towards NE, as 1802 and 1940, both felt beyond Moscow.
    The subcrustal depth of Vrancea earthquakes makes them difficult to predict.
    Best regards! God bless you!