Sunday, March 28, 2010

Geology and wine #4 - Wine and Earthquakes

Some of the oldest wine growing regions in Romania are in Vrancea, an area also known for the highest seismicity in Romania.  The red ellipse on the image below shows where Vrancea is located: within a structurally complex area named in Romanian "zona de curbura" literally translated as the "bend zone", because the Carpathian arch bends as it transitions from the Eastern Carpathians to the Southern Carpathians.
I'll start with the earthquakes, so that my post will have a happy ending, on the topic of wine.
Vrancea is a subduction zone and the widely accepted model for the seismicity is shown in the E-W cross section below (sourced from the Romanian earthquake forum, Cutremur.net):
It is postulated that a slab from the plunging plate detached about 10 million years ago and its motion, as it sinks and is consumed in the mantle, generates quakes. The depth range for the hypocenters varies between 15 and 220 km.  Areas to the NE or SW of Vrancea are the most affected during an earthquake, which is why Bucharest is the number two European capital with the highest seismicity (after Lisbon).  I went through a 7.4 earthquake in Bucharest in 1977, and it was not fun (I wasn't even a geologist yet at the time, to at least find "pleasure" in the scientific aspect of the event).  More on Vrancea quakes here and here.

As for the wine, the best known wine regions in Vrancea are Panciu, Odobesti and Cotesti.  The best wines from native grapes here are the Feteasca Regala, Tamaiosa Romaneasca and Feteasca Neagra.  The last is my favorite, with its bouquet of blackberries and dried plums, and a hint of bitterness as it gets more mature.

5 comments:

  1. A great post!

    Wine and rocks are almost as good as beer and rocks - maybe better. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Silver Fox, I am thinking that some rocks go well with beer, and others with wine. Just like other things in life...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your cutremur in the future are here: http://earthquake-prediction.hit.bg
    Thank you.
    Boyko Iliev
    / Consultant by earthquakes in the bulgarian television bTV,show "Seismograf" /

    ReplyDelete

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