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New seismic hazard map for Lithuania


The Lithuanian Geological Survey (LGS) under the Ministry of Environment has compiled a new seismic hazard map for the country. According to Jonas Satkūnas, Director of the LGS, it was necessary because the seismic hazard map for the entire European continent does not adequately reflect the situation of such a small territory as Lithuania.

The eastern part of the Baltic Sea is not seismically active; however, more than 40 perceptible or even moderate earthquakes have been recorded in this area during the entire recorded history of this region, i.e. around 700 years. Their probability has been particularly increased by the following earthquakes which occurred over the past 40 years: the earthquake on Osmussar island, Estonia, in 1976 (magnitude 4.7) and the earthquake in the Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, in 2004 (magnitude 5.2).

Although no earthquakes have been recorded in the territory of Lithuania until now, a few earthquakes occurred in the immediate vicinity of the current state borders. For instance, the following moderate earthquakes were recorded: magnitude 4.1 in Bauske, Latvia, in 1616, magnitude 4.5 in the Astravets district, Belarus, and Daugpils, Latvia, in 1908, and magnitude 5.2 – in the Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, in 2004.

According to Jonas Satkūnas, these seismic events show that earthquakes are likely to occur in our country as well. Their consequences can be predicted as there are a number of large economic entities in the country, namely, the decommissioned Ignalina Power Plant, the Nemunas dam, Achema, a producer of nitrogen fertilizers, in Jonava, Lifosa, a producer of mineral fertilizers, in Kėdainiai, the Orlen petroleum refinery in Mažeikiai, and the liquefied natural gas terminal in Klaipėda. Therefore, it is very important to assess seismic hazards in a relatively seismically calm region as well.

Communication Division
12 February 2016

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