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Subduction beneath Gibraltar? Recent studies provide answers

Marc-André Gutscher 1, *
* Corresponding author
Abstract : On 1 November 1755 a powerful earthquake shook Portugal, Spain, and northern Morocco, with tremors felt across most of northwestern Europe and as far west as the Azores and as far south as the Cape Verde islands [Gutscher, 2004]. Known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, the event was followed by a devastating tsunami that swept the nearby Atlantic coast with waves 5-15 meters high; tsunami waves 1-5 meters high were also observed in the Antilles [Gutscher et al., 2006]. Following the earthquake, huge conflagrations raged for days in the city of Lisbon, where 85% of buildings were leveled. In total, 40,000-60,000 people are estimated to have perished. Modern estimates now consider that the earthquake's magnitude was between 8.5 and 9.0, making it among the strongest earthquakes ever felt. But questions on the earthquake's exact mechanism continue to perplex researchers. Also perplexing are observations of extreme stretching of crust in the western Alboran Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean between Spain and Morocco. Could the processes that stretched the crust there be related to the forces that triggered the 1755 earthquake?
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Marc-André Gutscher. Subduction beneath Gibraltar? Recent studies provide answers. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2012, 93 (13), pp.133-134. ⟨10.1029/2012EO130001⟩. ⟨insu-00689446⟩

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