Earthquake felt in Olhão

AN EARTHQUAKE measuring 4.1 on the Richter Scale was felt in eastern Algarve on Monday (January 3), predominantly in Olhão since its epicentre was only 40km south of the town.

No injuries or damage occurred, however residents say that they noticed the lighting in their homes flickering. The tremors were only felt in a relatively small area that included Vila Real do Santo António, Olhão, Faro, Tavira and Albufeira.

Due to its occurrence just days after the horrific disaster in Asia, and only weeks after the last quake in Portugal (December 13), that measured 5.4 on the Richter Scale, many residents in the Algarve were very alarmed. But, according to the Instituto de Meteorologia de Lisboa, there is no cause for concern as it is a perfectly normal situation. There are various quakes during any year, many of which are never even felt.

Joaquim Manuel Freire, a professor from the Faculty of Science at Lisbon University, has confirmed that the recent quakes in Portugal have no relation whatsoever to what has happened in Asia. He did say, though, that it was unusual for two earthquakes, that could actually be felt, to occur in the same region in such a short space of time.

Due to the recent quakes that have been mostly felt in the Algarve region, it has come to the attention of experts that the Algarve is underequipped. “No equipment exists in the Algarve to measure the intensity of earthquakes in the region,” says professor Alvarinho Dias, of the Sea Science Faculty of the Algarve University. Everything is centralised at the Instituto de Meteorologia in Lisbon.