Kind of surprising M4.5 earthquake in NE Hungary

Last night (22:29 UTC on 22 April) a M4.5 earthquake rattled NE Hungary. The event was shallow (~10 km) and the epicentre was only about 25 km south of the city of Eger, famous for its red wine (Egri bikavér). The area is south to the Inner Western Carpathian Mountains. Light damage has been reported from the epicentral area, the EMSC questionnaires document intensities of VI.

Felt reports (Data source: EMSC)

USGS data suggest a compressional focal mechanism. I thought orogeny in the Carpathian Mountains would have been finished in Tertiary early Neogene… The website provides more information on recent earthquakes in Hungary.

EMSC seismicity data illustrate that this area is not really known for its seismic activity:

Seismicity 1960-today. Source: EMSC

Seismic hazard in this region is among the lowest in the country, see

Seismic hazard in Hungary. Source: USGS

The Archive of Historic Earthquake Data (AHEAD) lists a magnitude 6 event on 15 October 1834 as strongest earthquake in historical times in E Hungary (intensities ~IX), and another event of magnitude 6.2 occurred in 1763 close to the Hungary-Slovakia border. In 1561, a moderate event rattled Budapest and in 1868 another moderate earthquake occurred near Eger.

So, although some strong historic events are known for Hungary, the area of yesterday’s earthquake wasn’t really thought to be active – no really important events happened there during the last 1000 years. Or maybe it’s only no events that we know of. Bad luck for the people that need to repair their houses now. Good luck there has been only minor damage…

References and further reading:

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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner

1 Comment

  • José A. Alvarez-Gómez | 2013-04-24|14:42 (UTC)

    Maybe you can find of interest the model of topography-induced stresses of Bada et al. (2001) for the area. Their results are in agreement with the compressive focal mechanism of the USGS.

    Bada, G., Horváth, F., Cloething, S., Coblentz, D.D. and Toth, T. (2001) Role of topography-induced gravitational stresses in basin inversion: The case study of the Pannonian basin, Tectonics, 20(3): 343-363.

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