Gibraltar earthquakes

Gibraltar earthquakes

The Strait of Gibraltar and surrounding seas have regular, but minor, quakes.  Below are a list of the most recent years to give you some idea of frequency, strength and area.

earth    earth2


earth3  earth4

Earthquakes in the area are regular, so today’s Mag 3 is nothing out of the ordinary.    But is it any indicator of something more to come in the future?  Clearly it’s a delicate spot as the narrowest point between Europe and Africa and the two continents pushing one under the other.

It is anyones guess as to whether there is a serious earthquake to come, and more to the point any tsunamis created by such an event.  Back in 1755 there was a great earthquake that devastated much of the region including Portugal, particularly Lisbon.  As the quake struck the sea drained away, to the horror of the people, but 40 minutes later returned with vengeance in the form of a tsunami.

It is not clear if Gibraltar has any early warning systems or procedures in place in such an event but it might be something worth thinking about.  Reportedly waves the height of 20 meters swept along the coast of north Africa (Morocco), so one dreads to think how La Linea faired, or how down town Gib would do if such a thing were to happen.

The tsunami even made it all the way to Cornwall with waves 3 meters high!  Just goes to show how volatile the Azores-Gibraltar fault and Gibraltar Arc are.

1755 may sound like a long time ago but not really in the world of seismology.  Food for thought.