Author: by Andrei NIKONOV, Dr. Sc. (Geol. & Mineral.), RAS Otto Schmidt Joint Institute of Physics of the Earth
Articles in this rubric reflect the opinion of the author.- Ed.
For quite a long time, seismic activity in Russia's European part has not been considered an issue to merit the attention of the scientific community. Researchers were more concerned with other natural, and particularly, human-made disasters. Improbable as it seems, the threat of earthquakes is not as nebulous as it is thought to be in this enormous, heavily populated region honeycombed with underground ducts and sewage systems and packed with vulnerable high-tech industries. Natural seismic tremors, whenever they are felt on the Russian Plain, are more often than not ripples caused by earthquakes thundering elsewhere, very far from Russia. They can, even if rarely, cause some havoc here.
COOKING IN THE CARPATHIANS
Jolts rolling over Ukraine or Russia have been so far harmless, for all the extensive areas they have involved and bouts of panic they set off. In their vast majority, tremors ranging from 6 points in the south to 4 points in the north of Moscow are generated by strong and very strong Carpathian earthquakes centered on the so-called Vranica deep-focus zone in Romania.
Four quake waves reached the Russian Plain in the 20th century-in 1940 (twice), 1977, 1986, and 1990 (the first two waves rolled north as far as St. Petersburg and Nizhni Novgorod). The strongest tremors felt on nearly half of Russia's western areas in the 19th century were registered in 1802, 1829, and 1838. Weaker ones
occurred in between these major shocks. These earthquakes were studied professionally, and maps were even drawn up to show magnitude distribution that can today be used in estimating the possible effects of earthquakes on sensitive industries, including nuclear power plants. Pinpointing the exact time an earthquake may strike is still a problem nowhere near resolution. That is wh ... Читать далее