Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The earthquake at Lorca could have been man-made

When the 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit Lorca, Pam and I were not far away having taken a three day break at a hotel a few kilometres from Cartagena. Although we felt nothing, those in Cartagena said they had felt the tremor. Friends, who had seen accounts of the quake on television,  phoned us urgently to check that we were OK.

The earthquake meant that 250 buildings had to be demolished and that 10,000 of the residents had to move away from the town. Nine people died as a result of falling buildings and 100 were injured.

Now a report in the journal, Nature Geoscience says that there is evidence the disaster was man-made and was a result of water being sucked out of the ground. Since the 1960s, the natural groundwater levels have dropped by 250 metres and that movement may well have caused a slip in the underlying fault.

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