Latest Earthquakes ‘Normal’ But Malta’s Seismic Hazards Should Be Considered, Leading Seismologist Says
The latest earthquakes Malta has been experiencing are relatively normal, a leading seismologist at the University of Malta’s Seismic Monitoring and Research Group has explained.
However, Matthew Agius, who takes care of the research group’s seismic network, said that “people living in Malta should, in general, be concerned about the seismic hazard of the islands”.
“The Mediterranean region is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Malta, although it is located far from the very active areas, is still part of the tectonic systems in the Mediterranean, and therefore we face risks similar to those of other countries,” Agius explained.
“If not earthquakes, it can be a tsunami or other geohazards. The earthquakes happening right now originate from a known seismically active area about 100-120 kilometres south of Malta that has generated felt tremors in the past.”
“While there has been a series of felt earthquakes in the last week, we still consider this as a ‘normal’ seismic activity with earthquake magnitudes at the upper range of what was recorded in the past.”
“Thus, our risk is as it was before.”
Agius continued to explain that it’s difficult to say whether these earthquakes are precursory to a much bigger one.
“While it’s difficult to say when looking at past earthquakes in the same area, we find that earthquakes there happen in a swarm – that is, a series of earthquakes that last for a period of time, sometimes days, weeks, or months, and whose magnitudes do not follow a regular pattern in time,” he said.
A swarm is a sequence of mostly small earthquakes with no identifiable mainshock. Swarms are usually short-lived, but they can continue for days, weeks, or sometimes even months.
Share to raise awareness on the latest earthquakes