Which Parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be hit by the destructive Earthquakes?


An earthquake, as a natural phenomenon, is a process that happens sporadically in time and space and is independent of past and future seismic phenomena in a specific territory.

‘’The duration of the destructive power of an earthquake varies from a few seconds to a maximum of one minute. On the other hand, the earthquake ‘does not know’  any political or administrative divisions, so high-magnitude earthquakes can cause material damage and take lives at very long distances from the epicenter (the point where the greatest damage takes place),’’ it is said from the Federal Hydrometeorological Institute (FHMI) explains.

‘’The territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a seismically relatively active zone. Generally speaking, this area is tectonically related to a large fault line of the Earth’s crust which goes from northern India (the Himalayas) across the territory of Iran, Turkey, and Greece (eastern Mediterranean) and crosses the southern part of the territory where it turns to the northwest. Besides this global fault, there are several significant regional fault lines (Bugojno, Visegrad, Neretva, Banja Luka). In the area of these faults, earthquakes of significant intensity may be generated,’’ it is said from the FHMI.

Furthermore, an epicentral zone of very strong earthquakes was registered in the area of Treskavica Mountain (in English: Shaking Mountain), which is why it was named like that. According to our historical archive, earthquakes of magnitude greater than 3 of Richter scale or higher than 5 of the Mercalli scale at the epicenter have been reported in all these areas. Also, in the territories of Dubrovnik, Makarska, Knin, and Montenegro there are destructive earthquakes that can have a significant effect on the territory of BiH.

On the territory of BiH, on average, three earthquakes of intensity less than 3 degrees of the Mercalli scale occur, registered only by instruments. Stronger earthquakes are relatively rare. The depth of the hypocenter varies from 4 to 30 km. Of that number, there are about a dozen earthquakes each year that can cause sensitive ground tremors or cause material damage to buildings. Since 1900, more precisely since the earthquakes have been instrumentally recorded in this area, there have been 1.084 earthquakes whose magnitude was over 3 of Richter scale or intensity greater than 5 degrees of the Mercalli scale, and these earthquakes have caused material damage or took human lives.

‘’Although it is very difficult to give a ‘forecast’ of seismic events for any territory, based on instrumental data (catalogs) while applying a mathematical-physical model of seismicity, it was concluded that in the next 50 years earthquakes of maximum intensity of up to 7 degrees of Mercalli scale can be expected. Earthquakes of this intensity cause material damage to buildings, mostly without human casualties. However, according to these forecasts, devastating earthquakes can hit southeastern and northwestern parts of BiH (areas of Trebinje, Neum, Banja Luka, and the Treskavica Mountain) in the next 100 or more years, which can cause huge material damage to buildings and take many human lives,’’ the FHMI concludes, radiosarajevo.ba portal reports.

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