Earthquakes in southern Spain, explained in five minutes

Earthquakes in southern Spain, explained in five minutes

  • A 6.3 magnitude earthquake shakes Andalusia and Melilla.
  • The aftershocks of earthquakes have been no injuries or damage seriously.


An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Alboran Sea has felt today at 4:22 o’clock in the morning in southern Andalusia and Melilla. Tremor is the continuation of a series of earthquakes occurring in this region since last January 21, when an earthquake of magnitude 5.1 was recorded. Most aftershocks have been of lesser magnitude. However, the perceived today at dawn earthquake has killed at least 26 injured Melilla, where there have been numerous material damages are not serious, as reported by the government delegate Abdelmalik ElBarkani .


location of earthquakes in the last hours, according to USGS. – US Geological Survey


The area known as Alboran Sea it is the westernmost part of the Mediterranean. “It is a zone of plate boundaries in Africa and Eurasia,” he told Hypertext geologist Maria Jose Jurado . The researcher at the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera notes that “the African plate pushes the Northwest” and that in this region, “there are many fault systems by which those efforts are transmitted”. The US Geological Survey estimated that this shift was 4-10 mm per year, why These types of earthquakes originate.

As shown in the map below National Geographic Institute , the greatest seismic hazard zone in Spain is located precisely in this region, near the boundary between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. Most of the Mediterranean region, plus Pyrenees and Galicia, also show a “significant risk” according to IGN. For these reasons, the Jury noted that “not surprised by the earthquake,” since it provides “a seismic profile with active faults”.


Map of seismic hazard in Spain, according to the National Geographic Institute


The initial epicenter of the earthquake was located in the Alboran Sea, although as noted Jurado, the following aftershocks have occurred in more nearshore areas. These earthquakes have been felt mainly in Melilla and Malaga , because “it is a great fault that moves at that point,” says the geologist. The reason that the city of Málaga, and not other cities have mostly perceived as Granada- tremor is that “it is the stress field adjustments” and “displacement is resolved into that area.”


earthquake with the magnitude Maps Earthquake perceived in Spain, according to the National Geographic Institute.


“Imagine a jolt between blocks of ten kilometers deep,” explains Maria Jose Jurado to Hypertext . Once that initial earthquake occurs, the ground “becomes more relaxed”, which can be observed aftershocks of lesser magnitude. The initial quake of 5.1, received on 21 January, preceded other earthquakes of magnitudes between 2 and 3. The shock perceived today, however, is of magnitude 6.3. Does this mean we will see more aftershocks in the coming hours?

From 4:22 hours of the morning there have been more aftershocks, says Jury, “but people have not noticed.” After the strong earthquake, “usually it will relax the area, although can not rule out that more earthquakes are perceived by the population “. To be able to anticipate new earthquakes, “we should have very precise knowledge and currently the only data come from seismometers,” says Jurado. In the coming hours geologists continue to analyze the data collected on the seismicity in this region


seismicity of the Iberian Peninsula and close to a depth less than 10 kilometers areas, according to the National Geographic Institute.


seismicity of the Iberian Peninsula and surrounding areas at a depth between 10 and 50 kilometers, according to the National Geographic Institute.


seismicity of the Iberian Peninsula and close to 50 kilometers greater depth areas, according to the Institute National Geographic.


The tremors originated in the Alboran Sea have had a maximum magnitudes of 5.1 and 6.3. The last major earthquake was felt in Spain Lorca , which took place in 2011 with a magnitude of 5.1. On that occasion, nine people were killed and serious structural damage occurred in 5% of the buildings and moderate in 13% of homes. The two most significant earthquakes recorded in Spain, however, occurred in Huelva in 1969 (magnitude 7.8) and 1755 (magnitude 8.5).

However, a high size it does not have to lead to structural and human damage, since it must also consider the depth at which the earthquake occurs. For example, in the case of the earthquake in Dúrcal (Granada) of 1954, the shock was magnitude 7 at a depth of 650 kilometers. That is, the earthquakes that occur at shallower depths are usually more destructive even if they have a lower magnitude. The earthquake of Lorca, for example, came to less deep that earthquakes of the Alboran Sea, why were greater damage despite having a magnitude of 5.1 off the scale 6.3 registered today.


Damages in Lorca after the earthquake of 2011. Source: Antonio Periago (Wikimedia)


Emergency services in Andalusia and Melilla have confirmed that no damage has occurred personal or material of gravity after the earthquakes. In the case of Andalusia, most 112 calls asking for information about earthquakes. The Ministry of Social Welfare and Melilla, on the other hand, has opened an office in C / Ramirez Arellano to serve those affected.

Instituto National Geographic collects on its website all the data on the earthquake registered so far. The company also offers the Seismology IGN Pro to display earthquakes and a roadmap on what to do during an earthquake. The most important thing is to stay calm and put us in a safe place, away from buildings or, in the case we are inside a home, stay away from furniture, windows and lamps. Some advice that serve to reduce risks and ensure our safety to phenomena of this type.


Earthquakes in southern Spain, explained in five minutes
Source: english  
January 25, 2016

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