June 13, 2011
The earthquake of Lorca in Spain (Saturday marked the one month), which caused nine deaths and nearly 300 injured, has made clear that Spain is not free to large earthquakes.
Obviously without reaching the levels of Japan (the most seismically active country in the world), our soil and our waters have been centered in the last ten days of about 70 earthquakes (1.5 to 4.3 degrees). And last year another 27 have been "significant", all more than 3 degrees, according to the National Seismic Network.
The Lorca, were two (4.5 degrees at 16.05 pm and from 5.2 degrees to 17.47) and showed the damage that can be done on land (1,700 buildings were damaged.)
While scientists warn that the real danger lies in the sea, marine earthquakes. And highlighted three areas in particular "hot": the Gulf of Cadiz, the Balearic and Alboran Sea (Mediterranean waters between Malaga and Alicante).
A study by the European Union (EU), the project 'Transfer', has developed a projection of the effects that might cause tsunamis in Europe. And in Spain the most dangerous area is the Gulf of Cadiz.
There, a strong earthquake in 1755 in the so-called Bank of Corridge, in the waters of Cape San Vicente, with more than 8 degrees, caused a large tsunami that devastated Lisbon and came with devastating effects to Cadiz and Huelva areas.
In total there were about 15,000 dead. "Cadiz has been a particularly analyzed for its high risk." said Jose Antonio Alvarez, Professor of Geodynamics at the Complutense University and researcher Transfer Project.
For the Gulf of Cadiz, where the December 17, 2001 was a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that was felt in Madrid, the projections foresee an earthquake of about 8.5 degrees would lead to a wave of between 6 and 13 meters. The tsunami would arrive between 30 and 50 minutes after the rest of the Spanish coast and Portugal.
"Earthquakes are not predictable. We know what faults are generated, but not when. In addition to the devastating 1755 in Cadiz, there was another very strong in the year 210, but have a warning system that detects and determines that damage can cause is important, "says Professor Alvarez.
Risk maps will help develop urban plans for major infrastructures not built near the coast.
Now the next step is to create a national tsunami warning. Western Europe is expected to launch in 2012.
Already been informed that work to the Military Emergency Unit (UME) and Civil Protection, but still no alerts protocol in Spain. In our country only exist in the coastal stations that measure the movement of water near the coast. Are insufficient to detect a submarine landslide and tidal wave plates.
The map that the Spanish scientists have developed Transfer Project is a projection of the effects that cause the tsunami wave arriving at Cadiz. More than 20 neighborhoods would be affected, especially the southern part of the city, the new town of Cádiz, where the Hospital Puerta del Mar, Ramon de Carranza stadium, the port and industrial district of the Vine . Across the Gulf Coast of Cadiz and Huelva areas that are less than ten meters above sea level can be seen flooded by the tsunami effects.
Another danger is the failure of northern Algeria, which threatens the Balearic Islands. This provides an undersea earthquake of up to 7.3 degrees, causing waves of 3 to 4 meters. In the failures of the Mediterranean such as the Carboneras (Almería) and Alhama (Murcia), the intensity of the tsunami provided ranges from 6 to 7 degrees, with waves about 3 feet high.