STA, 5 April 2019 - Physicist Jure Žalohar has combined a number of seismic studies to come up with a new way to potentially predict earthquakes in the future. His theory suggests earthquakes are not coincidental but are caused by synchronised processes in the Earth's crust.
Žalohar's theory was introduced in his book The Omega-Theory: A New Physics of Earthquakes, which was released in May 2018.
It is based on a number of studies conducted by seismology, geophysics, and maths experts in the past two decades and could prove effective if put into practice through an IT system.
Seismology or the study of earthquakes tried to forecast earthquakes in the 20th century by taking into account various precursors, such as animal behaviour, regional transformations of topography, changes in the speed of primary and secondary seismic waves, or radon gas emissions.
These efforts were only partially successful, with many studies focusing on possible causes for earthquakes, but none of them coming up with the exact way of predicting them.
In 1997, journal Science published an article saying that earthquakes could not be forecast. The bold claim did not discourage scientists from continuing their research.
They succeeded in developing two theories; the theory of the Earth's tectonic plate movement and the theory of the epicentre mechanism. The majority of earthquakes occur at or near the boundaries between tectonic plates.
Žalohar's Omega theory, which could be described as a rotation theory of earthquakes, is based on the already established phenomenon of the plates' splits tending to be parallel and intersecting.
According to Žalohar, the plates are "enormous omega cells", experiencing earthquake sequences stemming from parallel splits, with the famous golden ratio determining the number of those splits. Earthquakes are thus connected between themselves and affected by the Earth's rotation.
The Omega theory suggests that earth tremors are not coincidental but a result of "highly synchronised processes" in the Earth's crust, which indicates they could be predicted.
The software programme T-Tecto was created on the basis of the theory, currently providing only one model of earthquake forecasting which includes a 64-day prediction.
An IT centre that could build on that and further develop the method would require additional funding and special training for monitoring personnel, said Žalohar.
The ability to forecast earthquakes would also entail potential ethical issues in case it was not confined to authorised organisations.
All our stories about earthwuakes and Slovenia can be found here
STA, 6 December 2018 - The government has adopted a disaster risk assessment report for the past four years and a new national disaster risk assessment which finds that floods are the only top-level risk to the country.
The report sets out scenarios for various types of accidents or disasters and their effects on the population, business, the environment and cultural heritage. It also assesses probability levels.
Considering the scope of political and social impacts and the likelihood of disaster, the only top-level risk to the country is represented by floods.
An earthquake, ice storm or the risks of biological, chemical, environmental or of unknown nature for people's health are assessed as entailing high-level risk.
Meanwhile, a nuclear accident is assessed as mid-level risk because of the very small likelihood of such an accident happening.
Also assessed as middle-level risks are cyber threats and large wildfires, despite being assessed as the likeliest of all types of accident.
The lowest level of risk represent radiological or train accidents.
The biggest impact from the aspect of the effect on people is attributed to a major nuclear incident at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.
In the worst-case scenario and providing inadequate protection measures, up to one thousand people could die and up to several thousand could be injured or exposed to radioactivity. Between 40,000 and 100,000 would have to be moved from the area permanently.
The country would also face grave consequences in case of a flu pandemic, which falls in the category of a danger of risks of biological, chemical, environmental or unknown nature on people's health.
Such a pandemic could claim some 1,850 lives with up to 45% of the country's population taken ill, although not within days but in a space of between several months and up to almost a year.
A major earthquake in central Slovenia would claim 60 casualties, 600 injured and the evacuation of more than 5,000 people.
The map at the top of this story is from the Institute of Water for the Republic of Slovenia
Slovenia has experienced 38 earthquakes so far in 2018, with most below 3 on the Richter (ML) scale, that figure being exceeded only twice.
First on January 17th, when a 3.8 quake hit the north west of the county, not far from Čezsoča, at a depth of 5 km. Second today, December 5, when at 17:23 a 3.4 magnitude quake struck just outside of Knežak, near Postojna, at a depth of 14 km, and felt at least 44 km away, in Ljubljana.
By coincidence, Dnvenik reported today that a study has concluded more than 41,000 homes in Ljubljana, with around 86,000 residents, were developed before the 1963 Skopje earthquake (6.1 ML) that led to the introduction of tougher standards, and thus could be at risk of significant damage if a similar quake occurred.
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with the latest in seismic activity as it relates to Slovenia, there’s the government website (in Slovene) here, while an international site, in English and searchable by location, is here.