The Carpathian basin is located between the seismically active Mediterranean area and the nearly aseismic East European platform. Its tectonics is determined by the counterclockwise rotation of the Adria microplate and the north-northeast directed movement originating from the rotation. On the whole, seismicity of the area can be characterized as moderate. Distribution of the earthquakes, however, is not homogeneous: there are significant differences between the seismic activity of the surrounding mountain areas and of the inner part of the Pannonian basin. The most active areas of the region are the Southern Alps, the North-West Dinarides and the Vrancea zone. Seismicity is remarkable at the Mur-Mürz-zone running from Mura valley to the western Carpathians; significant seismic activity can be seen in the eastern Carpathians (mainly in Maramureş region) and in Banat, that can be found in the southern part of the Carpathian basin.


Earthquake map

Earthquakes in and around the Carpathian basin between 456 and 2015. Symbols are proportional to Richter magnitude. (Topography: USGS)


In the inner part of the Pannonian basin (the area of Hungary), seismicity is somewhat lower. The distribution of earthquakes seems to be diffuse; it is difficult to link the hypocenters to known fault lines. However, there are certain areas where the likelihood of occurrence is higher. Surroundings of Komárom-Mór-Berhida, vicinity of Eger, Kecskemét and Dunaharaszti, as well as the Jászság and Békés counties belong to the more active areas.


Earthquake map

Earthquakes in Hungary between 456 and 2015. Symbols are proportional to Richter magnitude. (Topography: USGS)


In the entire Carpathian basin the earthquakes occur in the upper part of the crust, in shallow depths between 6 and 15 km. The exception is the Vrancea area, where the focal depths are between 70 and 110, as well as between 125 and 160 km.

In Hungary, the largest quake occurred in the city of Komárom; its magnitude was estimated as 6.1. Statistical studies show that four to five 2.5–3.5 magnitude earthquakes can be expected every year in the country, which can be felt near the epicenter, but cause no damage. Earthquakes causing light damages occur every 15–20 years, while stronger, more damaging 5.5–6 magnitude quakes happen about every 40–50 years.