Sofia, Bulgaria Vicinity Earthquake

Strong dangerous earthquake near Sofia, Bulgaria – Summary update

Last update: May 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm by By ll

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : 5.6 ?
UTC Time :   00:00
Local time at epicenter :
Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km ?
Geo-location(s) :
23 km (14 miles) W (274°) from SOFIA, Bulgaria
116 km (72 miles) SE (128°) from Nis, Yugoslavia

Shaking map courtesy USGS

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 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 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).

Recent Updates:

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. 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 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.

Landscape near Pernik – Image courtesy Dennyl

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.
– 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 01:11 UTC :  The earthquake was well felt in the neighboring countries from Macedonia, Serbia and Greece.

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.

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