Edition 1487
11 August 2018
Edition: 1487

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Experts warn this week’s quake was a “wake-up call”

in News · 18-01-2018 13:50:00 · 0 Comments

Following the strongest earthquake in Portugal for the past 20 years, experts have warned that had the epicentre been located nearer a more populated town, the damage could have been much greater.

A leading expert on earthquakes, Fernando Carrilho, chief of the Portuguese Met Office’s geophysics division, said that while any forecasts of what damage an earthquake could cause are always speculative, it is feasible that a 4.9 magnitude earthquake like Monday’s quake would cause more damage in a city like Lisbon.
Specialists have said that following Monday’s tremor, they were anticipating more damage, but it seems only a handful of cases of superficial damage, such as crumbled roofs, were reported closest to the epicentre.
The fierce 4.9 magnitude earthquake rattled mainland Portugal on Monday morning, its epicentre having been pinpointed to six kilometres north north-west of Arraiolos, in the district of Évora, Alentejo.
Reports of the tremor being felt were made as far away as Lisbon, the Algarve and even Spain. It was, according to reports, the biggest quake felt in Portugal in the past 20 years, although no injuries and very little damage was caused.
However, Carrilho says this latest episode should be seen as “a wake-up call.”
“Seismic activity in Portugal is characterised by spacing. As the earthquakes are not so frequent, it means people and even the authorities may not be so alert”, he says, adding: “As it is not something that is permanently on the agenda, fortunately, there is a tendency to belittle the phenomenon and to think that it is something that will not happen in our country, when we should be protecting ourselves”.
In recent decades, statistics indicate that between five and fifteen earthquakes are felt by the population every year, plus a series of aftershocks that generally go unnoticed.
It was announced in March last year that Portugal was one of several European countries making up a deep-sea observatory network, which monitors climate change, earthquakes and changes to sea ecosystems.
The news came following a documentary that spurred a wave of alarmist reports in the British media at the time, which claimed an impending Tsunami could wipe out holiday hotspots in Portugal and Spain.
The million-euro project was launched at the end of last year, with the equipment being installed in Lisbon.


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Edition 1487
11 August 2018
Edition: 1487

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.



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