Earthquake hotspots

Seismicity Spain and Balearic Islands
Earthquakes in Mallorca. I.

There have been more than 55 earth tremors in the Balearic Islands in the last 400 years. The majority were shallow, less than 10k in depth and of low magnitude, under 3.5 on the Richter scale. They caused no injuries or damage to buildings as the ground is not subject to large plate movements but to microfaults in the sea which may occasion minor tremors. In addition, seismic movements in North Africa are frequent and their proximately affects the Islands.

Serious damage was caused by one of these in May 2003. Registering 7.00 on the Richter Scale, it reached the Islands from Algeria, 350 kilometres away. It was followed by 34 aftershocks which formed small tsunamis, sinking dozens of boats, causing damage to hundreds more, and flooding the Paseo Marítimo in Palma.

The first documented earthquake occurred on 18 March 1660, affecting the whole of Mallorca, and registering 6.00 on the Richter Scale. There was a stronger one in 1721, with its epicentre in Selva, registering 7.00m whose effects were felt in Campos and Santanyí. There have been minor quakes during the twentieth c entury in Montuiri, Sencelles, sa Pobla, Sant Joan, Campos, Sineu and the Pla de Mallorca.

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