Skip to main content

Assessing potential seismic activity in Vrancea, Romania, using a stress-release model


Over the last 500 years, an average of five intermediate-depth earthquakes of Mw = 7 and larger have occurred during each 100-year period in Vrancea, Central Romania. We have therefore attempted to assess the long-term seismic hazards in Vrancea using a stress-release (SR) model which models the elastic rebound theory in a stochastic process. The hypocenter catalog, ROMPLUS, provided by the National Institute for Earth Physics (NIEP), was adopted for the study. We only used data on earthquakes located in Vrancea and applied the SR-model to data sets of earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 and larger for three different time periods. Renewal models, such as the Brownian and Weibull model, were also applied to the same data set, but these did not perform as well as the SR-model. The SR-model can assess future earthquake probability and has identified that the probability of an earthquake occurring in Vrancea in a 5-year period exceeds 40% by the end of this decade.


  • Akaike, H., On entropy maximization principle, in Applications of Statisticas, edited by P. R. Krishnaiah, 27–41, North Holland, Amsterdam, 1977.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bebbington, M. and D. Harte, On the statistics of the linked stress release model, Journal of Applied Probability, 38A, 176–187, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fuchs, K., K.-P. Bonjer, G. Bock, I. Cornea, C. Radu, D. Enescu, D. Jianu, A. Nourescu, G. Merkler, T. Moldoveanu, and G. Tudorache, The Romanian eartkquake of March 4, 1977, II. Aftershocks and migration of seismic activity, Tectonophysics, 53, 225–247, 1979.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Imoto, M., Application of the Stress Release Model to the Nankai Earthquake Sequence, Southwest Japan, Tectonophysics, 338, 287–295, 2001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lu, C, D. Harte, and M. Bebbington, A linked stress release model for historical Japanese earthquakes: coupling among major seismic regions, Earth Planets Space, 51, 907–916, 1999.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mârza, V. I., A. Kijko, and P. Mäntyniemi, Estimate of earthquake hazard in the Vrancea (Romania) region, Pageophysics, 136, 143–154, 1991.

    Google Scholar 

  • Matthews, M. V., W. L. Ellsworth, and P. A. Reasenberg, A Brownian Model for Recurrent Earthquakes, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 92, 2233–2250, 2002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nishenko, S. P. and R. Buland, A generic recurrence interval for earthquake forecasting, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 77, 1382–1399, 1987.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oncescu, M., V. I. Marza, M. Rizescu, and M. Popa, The Romanian earthquake catalogue between 984–1997, Vrancea Earthquakes: Tectonics, Hazard and Risk Mitigation, edited by F. Wenzel et al., pp. 43–47, 1999.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Purcaru, G., The Vrancea, Romania, earthquake of March 4, 1977—a quite successful prediction, Phys. Earth Planet Interiors, 18, 274–287, 1979.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sakamoto, Y, M. Ishiguro, and G. Kitagawa, Akaike Information Criterion Statistics, Reidel, Dordrecht, 298 pp., 1983.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shimazaki, K., K. Kawase, K. Satake, Y Suzuki, Y Ogata, M. Imoto, and T. Kumamoto, Renewal recurrence models for large earthquakes in Japan, Abstracts, IUGG 22 General Assembly, B, 182, 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sperner, B., D. Ioane, and R. J. Lillie, Slab behaviour and its surface expression: new insights from gravity modeling in the SE-Carpathians, Tectonophysics, 382, 51–84, 2004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Utsu, T., Estimation of parameters for recurrence models of earthquakes, Bull. Earthq. Res. Inst., Univ. Tokyo, 59, 56–66, 1984.

    Google Scholar 

  • Utsu, T., Sekai no Higaizisin no Hyo, Personal Publication, 243 pp., 1990 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  • Wenzel, F., F. P. Lorenz, B. Sperner, and M. C. Oncescu, Seismotectonics of the Romanian Vrancea area, Vrancea Earthquakes: Tectonics, Hazard and Risk Mitigation, edited by F Wenzel et al., pp. 15–25, 1999.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Working Group on Califonia Earthquake Probabilities, Probabilities of large earthquakes in the San Francisco bay region, California: U.S. Geol. Circ. 1053, 51 p., 1990.

    Google Scholar 

  • Working Group on Califonia Earthquake Probabilities, Earthquake Probabilities in the San Francisco bay region: 2000 to 2030—A summary of Findings, U.S. Geol. Surv. Open-File Report 99–517, 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zheng, X. and D. Vere-Jones, Application of stress release models to historical earthquakes from North China, Pageoph, 135, 559–576, 1991.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zheng, X. and D. Vere-Jones, Further applications of the stochastic stress release model to historical earthquake data, Tectonophysics, 229, 101–121, 1994.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Masajiro Imoto.

Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Imoto, M., Hurukawa, N. Assessing potential seismic activity in Vrancea, Romania, using a stress-release model. Earth Planet Sp 58, 1511–1514 (2006).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words