Herak M., D. Herak and M. Živčić (2021): Which one of the three latest large earthquakes in Zagreb was the strongest - the 1905, 1906 or the 2020 one?.

Following the damaging earthquake of 22 March 2020 (ML=5.5, Mw=5.3, Imax= VII EMS) in Zagreb, a question was raised whether this was the largest event after the Great Zagreb earthquake of 1880 (Imax=VIII MSK). The counter-candidates are the events of 17 December 1905 and 2 January 1906, for which relevant earthquake catalogues mostly report larger or comparable magnitudes as for the earthquake of 2020, with their maximum intensities mostly within a narrow margin between VII and VII-VIII in various intensity scales. In order to resolve the question, we have (re)analysed all available macroseismic data for the two historical events, collected readings from station bulletins, and analysed available historical seismograms. Macroseismic proxy for the local magnitude (MmR) was estimated on the basis of modelled radii of isoseismals V EMS and VI EMS using the regressions derived for a set of 12 earthquakes in NW Croatia and the neighbouring areas. Macroseismic magnitude was found to be the largest for the 1906 event (MmR=5.3), followed by MmR=5.1 for the 2020 quake. Considering the magnitudes computed after Wiechert seismograms from the Göttingen (GTT) station, and from the amplitude/period readings reported from the German stations JEN and HOH for the earthquake of 1906, as well as the magnitudes calculated from broad-band records of the GTTG station and the stations of the Croatian network for the event of 2020, a unified local magnitude of ML=5.3 is found for both events. The magnitudes of the 1905 earthquake were consistently the lowest of the three. Taking the uncertainties into account, the events of 1906 and 2020 should be considered approximately equal in size. However, the strongest shaking in the centre of Zagreb was caused by the 2020 event. It occurred on the reverse North Medvednica boundary fault, while the macroseismic epicentres of earthquakes of 1905 and 1906 lie practically on the trace of the nearby strike-slip Kašina fault. That Kašina fault could have been the source of the 1906 earthquake is also hinted at by the elongated region of the strongest shaking along its strike.

Keywords: historical earthquake quantification, macroseismic magnitude, isoseismal radius, historical seismograms

[ PDF]