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Seismologist warns about upcoming ‘catastrophic’ quake

Gheorghe Marmureanu, former head of the Earth Physics Institute who remains honorary president of the institution, said in a show on B1TV on Monday evening that a catastrophic quake would occur in Romania. Marmureanu did not specify a time interval in which this tremor could occur, but said it would surely be very deep underground and measure over seven degrees on the Richter scale. “We calculated that until 2006 there would be no major quake in Vrancea, and we will see what will come next. Doing the tests for Romania, we found that we will indeed have a very deep quake, of over seven degrees,” Marmureanu said.

The seismologist did not provide any other details but added that Romania is currently going through the 64-year “window” favourable for major tremors, following a devastating quake in 1977. According to Marmureanu, this period will end in 2041. The Earth Physics honorary president underlined however that it is very unlikely for Romania to have such a huge quake like the one in Japan on March 11. “We knew that there would be a quake there, but we didn’t know that it would be of this magnitude. We knew there was this 2006-2022 window. And it’s not over in Japan. The east will come next. They were afraid of what would happen in the west, not in the east,” Marmureanu added.

The seismologist’s statements are quite surprising given that only a few months ago, he said Romania was not at risk of facing any major tremor of over seven degrees until after 2040. Apparently this is not the first time the specialist contradicts himself. In 2007, Marmureanu predicted that a big quake would hit Romania until 2010, which did not happen.

In fact, the former head of the Earth Physics Institute is criticised by other seismology experts for his hazarded predictions. After reputed professor George Purcaru, with the Frankfurt J.W. Goethe University and member of the European Seismology Commi­ssion accused Marmureanu of amateurism two years ago, Construction University structure safety expert Dan Lungu said yesterday the new ‘predictions’ have no real grounds. In Both Purcaru and Lungu insisted that Marmureanu does not have the necessary training to make predictions about quakes. Moreover, both specialists say that a devastating quake could happen any moment, but nobody can anticipate the exact year or the direction of the shockwave.

“Mr. Marmureanu often changes his statements. In 2004 and 2007 he said we were going to have a big quake and then he changed his discourse and calmed us all: it wasn’t coming. Yesterday, he seems to have changed his mind again,” Lungu told dcnews.ro. “From a certain level upwards, quakes have no geometric or mathematical regularity that we people can calculate. All quakes in the solar system are random (…). They say that there are two major quakes per century in Vrancea. But we cannot tell when they will happen: they can be 100 or 20 years apart,” Lungu added.

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