On Saturday 2 July 1898 at 5:17 local time, a devastating earthquake occurred in the Sinjsko polje. The estimated intensity at the epicenter was VIII–IX MSK scale (Medvedev-Sponheuer-Karnik macroseismic scale). The villages of Turjaci, Košute, Čaporice, Gardun, Grab, Trilj, Vedrine and Vojnić suffered the most. Some houses were completely destroyed, many were heavily damaged as well as churches and schools, and rock falls and cracks in the ground are reported. Some wells dried up, while a new spring of water appeared in the village of Vedrine. It was harvest time, so most of the inhabitants were already in the fields at that time. Unfortunately, three children and three adult women lost their lives. In Turjaci, 12 people were seriously injured, while in Vojnić, 20 people were seriously or lightly injured. In Vojnić and Turjaci, the houses were mostly in ruins. Kišpatić (1899) reports that in Gardun, Košuta, Trilj and Čaporice, half of the houses were destroyed and that there were over 40 injured. About ten thousand people were left homeless.
Kišpatić (1899) states from the Report of the Presidency of the Dalmatian Governorate “that in all 2365 residential and commercial buildings were damaged. Of the religious buildings, 5 rectory houses and 2 churches were destroyed”.
In the first week after the earthquake, over 120 aftershocks were felt in the area. The earthquake was recorded on already existing seismographs throughout Europe. The farthest seismograph that recorded that earthquake was 1784 km away from the epicenter of the earthquake and was located in Jurjewo, Estonia. That earthquake was preceded by weaker seismic activity that began on 27 June 1898, and a total of 17 previous earthquakes were reported.
The best description of that earthquake can be found in the work of A. Faidiga (1903): Das Erdbeben von Sinj am 2. Juli 1898., and in the work of M. Kišpatić (1899).
Prepared by Prof. Davorka Herak
Faidiga, A. (1903): Das Erdbeben von Sinj am 2. Juli 1898. Mitteilungen der Erdbeben-Kommission der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien. Neue Folge, no. XIV.
Kišpatić, M. (1899): Šestnajsto potresno izvješće: za godinu 1898. Rad JAZU, knj. 26.
Adapted and translated from Croatian by Iva Dasović