Quake town unlucky says seismologist

A town in southern Spain was "unlucky" to have been hit by an earthquake which killed eight people and caused extensive damage, according to a seismologist.

The quake rocked Lorca in the Murcia region of the country yesterday afternoon, causing rubble to crash down on to the streets and large cracks to appear in buildings.



Striking at 6.47pm local time (5.47pm BST), the earthquake registered magnitude 5.2 on the Richter scale, and followed a smaller magnitude 4.4 shock two hours before.



Roger Musson, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey, said: "It's only really caused such damage because it was so shallow and the epicentre was so close to the town of Lorca.



"A magnitude 5.2 is not that big - it's not considered a large earthquake."



The expert said the quake's epicentre was in the hills around three or four miles to the south west of Lorca, but was less than two miles deep.



He explained that earthquakes normally strike at a depth of between six and 12 miles, and the shocks are more dispersed.



"On average there are probably about 1,000 magnitude 5 earthquakes every year, which is around three per day," he said.



"They mostly happen in the sea, or in remote places. It's only when you get one in a place like this where you get significant damage.



"It's certainly unlucky for the people of Lorca to get one so close and shallow."



A Murcia regional government statement said eight people, including one child, died in the quakes.



Dozens of injured people were treated at the scene and a field hospital was set up in the town with a population of around 85,000.



About 270 patients at a hospital in Lorca were evacuated by ambulance as a precaution after the building sustained minor damage, the Murcia government said.



Spanish television showed images of cars partially crushed by falling rubble, and large cracks in buildings.



A reporter making a live broadcast narrowly avoided being hit by huge chunks of stone and brick falling from the facade of a church.



The church's large bell was seen crashing to the ground near the journalist, who appeared to be about 30ft away when it fell.



Many residents spent the night camped out in parks and other open spaces, fearing aftershocks and because of structural damage to their homes.



Mr Musson added: "Spain is not a very seismically active country, but the most active part is the region that was struck."



The expert said the buildings in the area would probably not be built to withstand earthquakes of this scale.



Britons living in the region have been telling of their experiences.



Neil Broadbridge, a businessman who lives near the town, told Sky News: "We had a walk around the city centre last night, as much as we could, and it was horrendous.



"There was considerable damage to pretty much every building, I would say.



"There was not one block of flats or one building that hasn't shown some sort of damage.



"There's debris, rubble, tiles, all across the floor.



"There are cars crushed and we witnessed the unfortunate scene of a deceased person lying on the floor covered with a sheet."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones