Earthquake swarm in a Romanian village

A village located in South-Eastern Romania has experienced almost 100 earthquakes  in less than two weeks (up to a magnitude of 4,0) an unusual phenomenon that have not been explained yet by the authorities. Walls of some houses in Izvoarele (Galati county) suffer damages; some residents protest against the Government because of lack of information. Romanian TVs are doing live reports from the area and include stories about the earthquake in the „Breaking News” or even „Exclusive” section. Seismologists believe the earthquakes are either „natural” or provoked by the big floodings that affected the area several weeks ago.

GALATI-IZVOARELE. In the meantime Romanian media and social media are invaded by theories, specialists and other people trying to explain the phenomenon. A local official in Galati county blamed an oil company, saying the extraction is the cause, but the Government and the oil company denied, while the experts said did not find any connection. Such a connection is possible when  are extracted shale gases, but in Romania there is no shale gas exploatation opened yet, the expert Iren Adelina Moldovan told realitatea.net.

International website Earthquake Report covers the story, mentioning a “mysterious earthquake swarm”:

  • Galati is a region with relatively low seismic activity and earthquake swarms like the current events are only known from the newspapers in other regions / countries (ER could trace some unconfirmed reports that a number of earthquakes occurred in March 1894!).
  • Residents and seismologists are very surprised and are trying to understand what is happening. Oil extraction and floodings where initially mentioned as  possible triggers but these reasons cannot explain why some other phenomenons like : a constant sound like “boiling water” (coming from the ground) and a strange water smell (like sulfur) is being noticed. Another reason the people are scared of are the big cracks appearing in the ground.
  • Although scientists are absolutely not sure about what will happening in the near future, they are trying to prevent panic in the affected villages. The affected population are upset about the lack of information from the authorities and the scientists (we at ER know that people are expecting answers from science which cannot be fulfilled at this level of scientific knowledge). As a reaction people tend to believe stupid rumors coming from so called people with special capacities while others have been praying to the Gods to end the swarm.

Until the experts find out the cause, what seemed to be a local story has become a national one, in a country that experienced in the past big earthquakes with victims and where corruption makes people not to trust the Government at all.

A seismologist is currently hosted in the village and his job is to inform the villagers, at 5 PM every day, about the last events recorded by his technology, the newswebsite gandul. info reported.  Also the priest in the village called the villagers to the Church, to pray at Saint Dimitrie, patron saint of earthquakes.

“What kind of curse is that?”, a Romanian TV news channel titled. Although Romanian TVs are covering the story with generosity, a blogger titled: “The truth about the earthquakes. Why the TV stations are quiet”. Of course, the explanation would be Chevron and the shale gases..

A local newspaper in Galati noted that the photo of an Orthodox Church leader felt down from the wall during an earthquake, while wowbiz.ro, a tabloid news website with millions of users per month, collected “experts opinions” from the internet, some of them saying that “a volcano is being formed”. Other “experts explanations” would be: shale gases, the “curse of a knight”, famous in the area and, of course, the aliens…

UPDATE. 5,5 Richter scale earthquake was registered on Sunday morning in Romanian region Vrancea. It was felt also in other Romanian regions (including Capital city, Bucharest) and, slightly, in northern Bulgaria. No damages or victims.

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