Earthquakes of the Deep Past

We’ve talked before about how Lake Ohrid can help us reconstruct both natural and human history from evidence stored in its sediments, but one fascinating way to do this is to compare historical documents with the carefully kept records on the lake floor!

In 2012, scientists undertook this very challenge, focusing on a major quake which destroyed the city of Ohrid–then known as Lychnidus–one thousand four hundred years ago.

Although it is not possible to determine the precise year from the lake, the resolution is clear enough to show disturbance in sediments from the early part of of the 6th century AD. This matches well with human documents, which put the year of the Lychnidus disaster at one of AD518, AD526 or AD527.

What this tells us is that, alongside revealing the secrets of climates, volcanoes and even human societies over many thousands of years, Lake Ohrid may also uncover the history of earthquakes in the region.

It also hints at the fascinating wealth of stories hidden in ancient Lake Ohrid’s depths just waiting to be discovered…

Pic: Kliment A.

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