Two earth tremors in Mazarron this morning
The 2.9 which struck at 7.30am was felt by local residents
Two minor earth tremors struck Mazarrón this morning, the first of them discernible to humans.
The first tremor measured 2.9 on the Richter scale, its epicentre in the north-west of the municipality of Mazarrón and took place at 7.30am. This had an intensity of III, and although the movement only lasted a few seconds, was felt by residents in not only the Mazarrón municipality, but also further afield in Lorca, where residents of La Hoya in Lorca reported having felt the tremor.
Only 2 people rang the emergency services, and there are no reports of material damage.
The second tremor followed at 08.53am, measuring 1.9. This had the same epicentre, but on this occasion the movement could only be detected by scientific instruments.
It has to be stressed that these are MINOR tremors and are part of the natural process of releasing energy, caused by the fact that beneath the surface of the Mediterranean are vast tectonic plates, in a constant motion of friction. This coastline was once joined to Africa and there are a series of faults right along the Murcia, Almerian and Alicante coastline relating to this geographical history.
So how does the Richter scale measure earthquakes?
The earthquake which rocked Japan and caused massive damage was a 9 on the Richter scale.
The information below calculates the importance of a force 3 earthquake, a common occurrence along the faultline which skirts the Murcian, Almerian and Valencian coastline, using as an example one which took place not long ago off the Cabo de Palos coastline.
How is the Richter Scale calculated?
This quake in Cabo de Palos was a 3.
The quake in Japan was a 9.
So does this mean the Japan quake was 3 times bigger than our little Murcia quake?
No it doesn´t.
We asked a mathematician for their explanation, and they said it was very simple, " The magnitude value is proportional to the logarithm of the amplitude of the strongest wave during an earthquake."
Which is why you never ask a mathematician for an explanation about anything.
What it means in layman’s terms is that for every point moved up the scale, the ground motion is ten times greater. A recording of 7, for example, indicates a disturbance with ground motion 10 times as large as a recording of 6, and a recording of 8 indicates one ten times greater than a reading of 7.
Using this information, we can calculate that in fact, an earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale is one where the ground motion is no less than A MILLION TIMES GREATER than a reading of 3.
And in relation to the energy expended, every point moving up the Richter scale represent a multiplication by 30, so the energy released by the earthquake in Japan was 729 MILLION TIMES GREATER than in our little Cabo de Palos seaquiver.
So there you go, 3.1 on the Richter scale in Cabo de Palos
Not as newsworthy as it sounds after all.
Image: National Geographic Institute
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