After Wednesday’s earthquake in Lorca (in Murcia) many people have been asking “Did you feel the earthquake in Nerja?”. The answer is, we didn’t know there had been an earthquake until we saw it on the news. Lorca is around 200 miles away from Nerja. This is the equivalent of asking someone in London if they felt the earthquake that rocked Manchester the day before – its possible, but you probably wouldn’t notice.

In fact in 2008 there was an earthquake of 5.2 on the richter scale (the same size earthquake that struck Lorca) in Market Rasen in Lincolnshire. At the time, Dr Brian Baptie, of the British Geological Survey said: “An earthquake of this size, of magnitude five or thereabouts, will occur roughly every 10 to 20 years in the UK.”

According to the Spanish news media, around 10% of the buildings in Lorca are now uninhabitable as a result of Wednesday’s earthquake and the central government has swiftly stepped in to promise aid money and help with the reconstruction of the damaged town. Campaigning for the elections on May the 22nd was suspended for a day as a mark of respect.

View of Balcon De Europa from Calle Carabeo

View of Balcon De Europa from Calle Carabeo

The last major earthquake in Spain occurred in 1956 when an earthquake killed 11 people in Albolote, Granada. In 1884 a large earthquake in the Nerja region led to a visit by King Alfonso III who famously described the outcrop of rock in the centre of Nerja as the Balcon de Europa.

Of the twelve major earthquakes that have occurred in Spain in the last 600 years, the worst recorded quake took place in 1829 in Torrevieja (Alicante), resulting in most of the area being destroyed and leaving 400 people dead. That earthquake had a magnitude of 6.9. Since then, building standards have improved dramatically, which is why Wednesday’s quake caused relatively little damage, although 9 people still lost their lives.

The picture on the left shows some of the huge rocks that fell from the cliffs in the 1884 earthquake. The Balcon de Europa is top right in the picture.

Was The Earthquake Forecast?

In March of this year, the President of the Colegio Oficial de Geólogos in Spain (ICOG), Luis Suárez, warned that a destructive earthquake was due in the near future and pointed out that according to statistics, Spain has a major earthquake every 70 years, although Spain is in an area of moderate seismic activity. Suárez added, “today we still do not have the tools to know exactly when an earthquake will happen”.

Seems like Suárez did in fact have the necessary statistical tools and on that basis we can expect another major earthquake in 2081.

If you were in Nerja on Wednesday and did feel the quake, please use the comment form below to let us know.

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