Granada Scientists Warn Of Aftershocks Following Moroccan Quake

Aftershock Warning From Granada University

Stock image of seismograph. Credit: Belish/Shutterstock.com

Spanish researchers have warned of the after-effects following the devastating earthquake in Morocco.

The Moroccan earthquake, registering at 6.8 on the Richter scale, stands as the most catastrophic in the African nation’s past century. The death toll has risen to 3,000, with rescue operations ongoing, writes Nuis Diario, 

Granada University Warnings On Aftershocks

Following this disaster, which has garnered selective international aid, experts have voiced their concerns. Scientists from the University of Granada have highlighted the significant risk of subsequent tremors.

The earthquake‘s epicentre was roughly 26 kilometres deep, southwest of Marrakech, within the Atlas Mountains – a region under scrutiny for several decades due to its unique nature as the tallest mountain range in northwest Africa.

Tectonic Movements

These mountains are situated at the convergent boundary between the Eurasian and Nubian plates. Collaborative research between the University of Granada, the University of Jaen, and various Moroccan institutions has been ongoing.

Jesus Galindo Zaldivar, a leading scientist, recently shared his insights. ‘The significant movement of the fault blocks from the major earthquake causes adjustments in other blocks, leading to aftershocks that could persist for months,’ he stated in a release from the Granada academic institution.

He further noted that the recent quake is linked to a reverse fault, roughly 30 kilometres in length, which is associated with the uplift of the terrain. ‘In this setting, it poses a threat that needs recognition,’ the researcher cautioned.

Historical Context And New Research

Zaldivar also reminded us of the Atlas’s stretch from Morocco to Tunisia. Despite its imposing landscape suggesting significant tectonic activity, its historical seismicity remains moderate. The 1960 Agadir earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.8, was particularly devastating due to its shallow depth.

Research led by Zaldivar’s team indicates an unusual, hot, and thin mantle beneath the continental crust, supporting the entire mountain range and linked to Quaternary volcanism.

The Baraca Project And Future Precautions

A fresh initiative named Baraca, funded by the State Research Agency and spearheaded by the University of Granada, involves experts in geology, geophysics, and geodesy from various Spanish universities, including Malaga, Alicante, and Complutense.

Additionally, institutions like the IEO and the ICM-CSIC are collaborating with Moroccan and European scientists. The project’s primary goal is to measure geological risks and their subsequent effects. Zaldivar emphasised that while earthquakes ‘cannot be halted or accurately predicted’, it’s possible to ‘determine the maximum intensity of fault movements.’

He believes that constructing ‘seismic-resistant’ buildings is crucial, especially given the evident poor quality of structures in the recent Morocco earthquake aftershocks.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.

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