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Lithuania wrapping up development of seismic monitoring network


Although Lithuania is relatively safe from the seismic point of view, following the recent disastrous earthquakes in Japan, Lithuania cannot be very confident that tectonic fractures of the Earth's crust will not become active here some day. No earthquakes have been recorded in the country so far. However, according to Jonas Satkūnas, Deputy Director of Lithuanian Geological Survey under the Ministry of Environment, about 40 earthquakes occurred in the Baltic Sea region and neighbouring Belarus since 1616. Their intensity in the epicentre scored 5-7 points. The earthquakes which occurred in September 2004 in the neighbouring Kaliningrad Region showed that such earthquakes could also occur in Lithuania having a very similar subsoil structure.

A continuously operating network of seismic stations is needed in order to accumulate sufficient data on the country's seismic conditions. Its development will be completed this year. Seismic observations in Lithuania started in 1970 when a seismic station was built at the Institute of Physics in Vilnius. It was closed in 1999, with four seismic stations opened in the surroundings of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. The installation of seismic stations is now being completed in Paberžė (Kėdainiai district) and Žemaitija National Park.

Permanent observations of seismic activity help to identify tectonic structures and zones with increased seismic hazard as well as their seismic potential and activity. A seismic hazard map of the country's territory indicating the most dangerous zones from the seismic point of view will soon be compiled on the basis of such data.

Ministry of Environment information, tel. 266 3660

15 March 2011

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas