2012 Pernik earthquake

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2012 Pernik earthquake
2012 Pernik earthquake is located in Bulgaria
2012 Pernik earthquake
Date 22 May 2012 (2012-05-22) 03:00 EEST
Magnitude 5.6 Mw[1] (or 5.8 ML)
Depth 9.4 km (5.8 mi)[1]
Epicenter 42°41′10″N 23°00′32″E / 42.686°N 23.009°E / 42.686; 23.009Coordinates: 42°41′10″N 23°00′32″E / 42.686°N 23.009°E / 42.686; 23.009
Areas affected Pernik Province, Sofia
Max. intensity MM VI (Strong)[2]
Aftershocks 4.6 Mw;[3] 4.3 Mw[4] 4.5 Mw;[3]
Casualties 1 (indirect)

The 2012 Pernik earthquake was a 5.6 Mw[1] (or 5.8 ML)[5] magnitude earthquake, which struck 24 km (15 miles) west of Bulgaria's capital Sofia and 9 km (6 miles) north-northwest of the provincial center Pernik on 22 May 2012 at 3:00 am local time (00:00 UTC) at a depth of 9.4 kilometers (5.8 mi).[1][6]


One of the three towers of the "Republika" Thermal Power Station in Pernik was heavily damaged during the earthquake

An emergency situation was declared in Pernik in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Mayors from nearby villages reported no significant damages.[7] Many residents in Sofia were reported to have fled their homes and gathered in the streets. Xinhua journalists in the capital reported that Internet connectivity had been cut off by the quake.[8]

USGS shakemap for the quake

According to the civil defense office, there were widespread reports of toppled chimneys, cracked walls and broken windows in the Pernik area, where a state of emergency was declared for 24 hours.[6][9] One of the tall chimneys of the city's Republika Power Plant partially collapsed during the tremor, and as a result the capacity has been temporarily reduced.[10] The government sent 14 teams to the area to assess the damage, and their initial reports concluded that around 60% of all homes have been affected. At least 150 people have been relocated to temporary shelters, and several schools and kindergartens in the area will have to demolished or rebuilt.[11] A total of 14,000 buildings were inspected, and approximately 50 of them will be torn down.[12][13] Initial estimates put the damage costs in the capital Sofia at around 1.3 million leva (around 600,000 euro), while the city of Pernik suffered at least 20 million leva (around 9.1 million euro).[14]

A 59 year-old woman from Kyustendil had a heart attack during the quake and was listed as quake's only indirect casualty.[15]


According to the United States Geological Survey a 4.6-magnitude aftershock (4.7-magnitude aftershock according to the German Research Centre for Geosciences[16]) struck the same area approximately ninety minutes after the initial tremor,[3] while a second aftershock, measuring 4.3 in magnitude, occurred 42 minutes following the first one.[4] Bulgarian seismologists have reported about 15 aftershocks in the days after the original tremor.[6]

A significant 4.5 Mw aftershock occurred on May 29, a full week after the quake.[3]

An even stronger 4.6 Mw aftershock occurred almost two months later, on July 14. [17] [18]