Tremors in Torrevieja

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LAST Thursday morning at 11.48 another minor earthquake was felt throughout the Vega Baja. 

With the region being located in a major earthquake zone, minor earthquakes are welcome as they release  the build up of pressure and advert a larger catastrophe.

Last October a new study by researchers from the University of Alicante brought to light once again, that the city of Torrevieja and the Vega Baja in general is not adequately prepared for earthquakes.

Thursday’s tremor had its epicentre just south-east of Los Montesinos with a magnitude of 2.7. according to data provided by the National Geographic Institute (IGN). The epicentre was estimated to be twelve kilometres deep and felt in Torrevieja,  Mata, Los Montesinos, Rojales, Benijófar, Almoradí, Dolores and around Daya Nueva.

If statistics are anything to go by, Spain suffers a major earthquake every seventy years. Setting aside Lorca, which was most likely caused by man made interventions, the last one happened on Christmas Day in 1884 in Arenas del Rey (Granada), thus chances of a more local occurrence grow greater every day.

Thursday’s quake immediately reminded Spanish historians about the areas most infamous earthquake in March 1829, that more or less flattened Torrevieja. In 2012, local citizens, clubs, associations and schools all partook in an an emergency exercise to test contingency plans should a major earthquake strike the area, however these drills were never followed up on.

Sociologist Antonio Aledo and environmental expert Samia Sulaiman at the University of Alicante noted that “although earthquakes that we are experiencing in Torrevieja are small, the city is, after all, one of the most earthquake-prone regions in Spain. The development of the city since the 1970s with a large and almost aimless expansion has given the city a property structure that increases the risk during major earthquakes.”

The earthquake that took place in Torrevieja in 1929 remains the largest experienced in Spain over the last 600 years. The earthquake of 21 March 1829 killed 389 people and injured 209 people, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and other structures. The earthquake was estimated at a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale and 6.9 at it’s highest point.

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