Tuesday 29 December 2020

A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Croatia on Tuesday, tearing down buildings in the central town of Petrinja and causing Slovenia's Krsko nuclear power plant to be shut down as a precaution after the earthquake

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A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Croatia on Tuesday, USGS reported, tearing down buildings in the central town of Petrinja.

The tremor, which struck at a depth of 10km at around 11.30am Irish time, was also felt strongly some 50km north of the epicentre in Zagreb, where panicked residents raced onto the streets, according to an AFP reporter. "We are pulling people from cars, we don't know if we have dead or injured," the mayor of Petrinja Darinko Dumbovic told regional broadcaster N1.

1950s saw an incredible burst of major quakes, (mag 6 or higher) peaking in 1957 the year true global warming began when our Sun went ballistic with a record-breaking number of Sunspots and the year the Space Race started! We may be due for another massive increase?

"There is general panic, people are looking for their loved ones." Images of the town, which is home to around 20,000, showed collapsed roofs and streets strewn with bricks and other debris. The tremor comes one day after a smaller earthquake struck Petrinja, causing some damage to buildings. The Balkan region lies on major fault lines and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

Slovenia's Krsko nuclear power plant has been shut down as a precaution after the earthquake in neighbouring Croatia, the plant's spokeswoman said. The earthquake was felt in several neighbouring countries, including Slovenia and as far away as the Austrian capital Vienna. Krsko is Slovenia's sole nuclear power plant and lies about 100km east of the capital Ljubljana.

The last decade recorded 1,494 major quakes, 94 less than the first decade: 2019 delivered 143 major quakes, which is slightly below this century's average

The current 700-megawatt Westinghouse reactor was built in the former Yugoslavia and went into service in 1983. It is co-owned by Slovenia and Croatia. The plant provides for around 20% of Slovenia's electricity needs and 15% of Croatia's but environmental campaigners have previously called for it to be shut down because of its age and the risks of seismic activity in the region. It was originally due to be switched off in 2023, but Ljubljana and Zagreb decided in 2015 to extend its lifetime by another 20 years.

With just two and a half days left of 2020, this year's annual total of major quakes (magnitude 6 or higher) stands at a conservative 120. At the same point last year the total was considerably higher at 145, while in 2018, the total stood at 133 and 2017, which recorded the lowest total this century with just 111.  Remarkably the last time a major quake wake higher than 7.9 was recorded we have to go all the way back 19 months ago when a magnitude 8.0 struck Lagunas, Peru in May 2019.

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