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Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa at Risk of Tsunamis

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The east coast of Spain, from Torrevieja to the Straight of Gibraltar, is at risk of Tsunamis, according to a post on the El Tiempo weather website blog.

However, it should be made clear that although there is a risk it is nothing more than a theoretical one and is very slight at best.

The article refers to the question as to whether Spain is at risk of tsunamis, and answers the question stating that although the odds of it happening are extremely low, it is indeed possible.

In 1755 a major earthquake with its epicenter in the Lisbon coast caused a tsunami that severely affected cities like Cadiz and Huelva. Several studies indicate that more than 2,000 people killed in Spain by waves of 15 meters triggered the Portuguese earthquake. Even to this day the remains deposits from the damage caused are found kilometres away from the Cadiz coast, demonstrating the lethal consequences of this tsunami. Although there was no means of testing the magnitude of that earthquake, experts have said it was likely to have been in the region of 8.5 on the Richter scale.

In 1829, Torrevieja and the surrounding area were all but destroyed by an earthquake, although no tsunami was recorded after that.

A tsunami is a series of waves from the ocean that sends great waves of water that can reach up to 30.5 metres in height. By hitting the coast, these walls of water can cause havoc. Most tsunamis originate after an earthquake.

Although strong earthquakes do not occur frequently in Spain, the fact is that there are several seismic zones due to the influence of European and African tectonic plates.

In this regard, as indicated by the director of the National Seismic Network, Emilio Carreño, it is the area mainly ranging from Torrevieja to the Strait of Gibraltar which concentrates most seismic activity, and therefore which could more be exposed to hypothetical tsunamis.

Most tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean, within the so – called Ring of Fire, where some of the most important areas of subduction of the world focus. It is this condition which favours the high seismic activity in the countries covered.

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