The Croatian government has begun repairing sunken sinkholes in an agricultural area near the capital, which has alarmed villagers who have seen their growth – in number and size.
On December 2 last year, less than a week after the C.4 magnitude earthquake hit central Croatia, sinkholes took a dramatic turn in early January, killing seven people.
Promoting the headline around the world with references to “Swiss cheese”, about 100 sinkholes were found in Mesenkani and Borozevichi, southeast of the capital Zagreb.
The largest sinkholes were measured across about 30 meters (98 feet).
Singhole’s “bumper crop” is unusual because earthquakes and other aftershocks are not usually their cause. However, in areas where groundwater has depleted the lower layers in such a way that it can no longer support the topsoil, puddles can be seen.
Stepan Terzic, chief engineer of the National Geological Survey of Croatia, said that although sinkholes were a normal occurrence, their high density was unusual in “so many small places”, but the shock caused by the earthquake accelerated their appearance.
He told the AFP news agency: “There are so many holes that have come out in such a short time that, under normal circumstances, more than a decade is not needed.”
Earthquakes in the country are the result of the movement of tectonic plates below the surface of the earth, with large Eurasian plates colliding with smaller Adriatic plates – large African plates, seismologist Josip Stepeevich told Total Croatia News at the University of Zagreb.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Croatia has experienced nine earthquakes of more than nine magnitudes.
Repairs to fill the sinkholes began last week and are expected to last a month and a half.