Vrancea area Romania 1990 (CAR)

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Event ID
199005301040
Event name
Vrancea area
Country
Romania
Region in the country
Vrancea
World region
Europe
Epicentral coordinates (long/lat)
POINT(26.64 45.86)
WKT GIS format
GEMECD contributing partner
CAR
Event narrative

On Wednesday 30th May 1990, at 13:40 local time, an earthquake of moment magnitude 7.0 and focal depth of 89 km occurred in Romania.

The earthquake was felt (intensity IV) in Kiev, Lvov and Uzhgorod (Ukraine) but also further away in Moscow, Rostov and Sochi (Russia).

The earthquake’s epicentre (45.83°N, 26.64°E) was in the Vrancea seismogenic source, in the Carpathian Mountains curvature. An aftershock of moment magnitude 6.4 and focal depth of 79 km occurred just over 14 hours later (on May 31, 1990).

In the USGS EXPO-CAT database it is estimated that during this earthquake 355,000 people were exposed to intensity VII, of which around 61% were in rural areas.

Date of occurrence (UTC)
1990-05-30
date
Time of occurrence (UTC)
10:40:00
time
Date of occurrence (local)
1990-05-30
date
Time of occurrence (local)
13:40:00
time
Day of the week (local)
Wednesday
Magnitude
7
Magnitude units
Moment (Mw)
Focal depth
89
km
Seismological data: source
USGS
Seismological data: comment

Shake Map Atlas

Overall impact

This intermediate depth earthquake caused moderate damage (MSK intensity VII) in a region enclosed between the cities of Iaşi (North), Câmpina (West), Bucharest (South) and Galaţi-Brăila (East). Epicentral intensity was assessed at I0 = VIII (on the MSK scale) in an area around the town of Focşani.

In total the earthquake caused 14 deaths (9 in Romania, 4 in Moldova Republic and 1 due to heart attack in Bulgaria) and around 350 injuries, including some in the Republic of Moldova. 75 people were seriously injured and (or) had to be hospitalized. Two of the deaths occurred in Bucharest in the district of Colentina, when the heavy plasterboard of an 11-storey apartment block collapsed along the expansion joint, due to pounding between the two separate parts of the structure. In Colentina and other parts of Bucharest but also closer to the epicentral area (in Buzău, Ploieşti), this type of damage was very common.

The earthquake occurred at a time of political upheaval in Romania that followed the revolution that resulted in the overthrow of the Ceauşescu regime in December 1989, as political struggle was taking place immediately after Romania’s first elections of May 20, 1990. As a result relatively little in known as to the overall effects of the earthquake on buildings, the direct and indirect economic losses, people rendered homeless etc.

A reconnaissance mission was launched by EEFIT in June 14-21, 1990 and is the main source of information on the consequences in the international literature (damage surveys were carried out in the vicinity of the strong motion observation stations in Buzău, Focşani and Vălenii de Munte while further investigations were carried out around the stations in the town of Ploieşti and in Mirinescu street (Bucharest)).

During this event and its aftershock there were no major building collapses and damage to civil engineering works was not extensive. Damage to industrial facilities was more common but no major collapse incidents were reported.

At least 38 strong motion records were obtained by Romania's Building Research Institute (INCERC) during the main shock and about 20 during the aftershock. In 5 stations the recorded PGA exceeded 20%g (maximum in Câmpina, 26%g), 6 stations recorded PGA of 17%g, 4 stations recorded 14%g, and 7 stations between 10 and 12%g. The remaining 7 stations recorded 4 to 9%g. Many of these instruments were located in the basements of multi-storey RC buildings. In Bucharest PGA between 7 and 14%g was recorded during the main shock and 2 to 4%g during the aftershock.

Economic losses have been reported by Munich Re to be in the region of 30 million US$. There were no significant insured losses.

Overview data
Loss: Human Casualty
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People injured
350
number
People injured: source
Pomonis, A., Coburn, A. & Ledbetter, S. (1990). The Vrance, Romania earthquakes of 30-31 May 1990. A field report by EEFIT. 64p.
People injured: comment

early reports talked of more than 700 injured

People injured: status
Approximate

People seriously injured
75
number
People seriously injured: source
Pomonis, A., Coburn, A. & Ledbetter, S. (1990). The Vrance, Romania earthquakes of 30-31 May 1990. A field report by EEFIT. 64p.
People seriously injured: comment

75 seriously injured and 221 lightly injured (Adevarul Newspaper, 31 May, 1990)


People missing
0
number

People killed
14
number
People killed: source
Seismological Notes of May-June 1990. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 81:2, 701-712.

People killed due to ground shaking
14
number
People killed due to ground shaking: source
Seismological Notes of May-June 1990. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 81:2, 701-712.
People killed due to ground shaking: comment

9 killed in Romania, 4 in Moldova Republic and 1 death due to heart attack in Bulgaria


Loss: Building damage
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Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking
0
number
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: source
Pomonis, A., Coburn, A. & Ledbetter, S. (1990). The Vrance, Romania earthquakes of 30-31 May 1990. A field report by EEFIT. 64p.
Total number of buildings destroyed by shaking: comment

No buildings collapsed in this earthquake.


Number of buildings damaged by shaking: status
N/A

Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: status
N/A

Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: status
N/A

Loss: Socioeconomic
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hide
People homeless: status
N/A

Direct economic loss
20
million US$
Direct economic loss: source
Munich Re
Direct economic loss: comment

16 million US$ in Romania
2 million US$ in Bulgaria
2 million US$ in Moldova
It excludes insured losses in Romania.

Direct economic loss: status
Approximate

Indirect economic loss: status
N/A

Insured loss
24
million US$
Insured loss: source
Munich Re
Insured loss: comment

24 million US$ insured losses in Romania.
No insured losses in Bulgaria and Moldova Republic.


Demographics
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Total number of buildings
4200000
number
Total number of buildings: source
CAR estimate
Total number of buildings: status
Approximate