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Research on the seismic activity of the southeast of the Bética Mountain Range

The region of Almeria has historically suffered the consequences of an important seismic activity, getting to register recently earthquakes of a magnitude higher than 5 (December of 1994 to January of 1995).

UGR professor Jesús Galindo Zaldivar, together to the Spanish Geological and Mining Institute (IGME –Ministry of Education and Science) have carried out a study of the variables suffered by the earth’s crust in the area of Almeria.

Through the geological observation of the field and the carrying out of geophysical prospecting, which determine the deep structure of the Campo de Dalías and the Campo de Níjar, it has been possible to establish the relationship between the tectonic structures observed in the surface and in depth. In addition, they have analysed the seismic activity of the area registered by the Andalusian Seismic Network, managed by the Andalusian Institute of Geophysics of the University of Granada (Universidad de Granada []).

Applications of the study

The results of the research work have allowed to identify the state of the active structures with seismic risk for the population of the area, besides involving a significant advance in the knowledge of geometry of the geological formations which form the aquifers of the region, necessary to get to know how to exploit and manage them correctly in a strongly agricultural area. Thanks to these research works it has been possible to establish a recent tectonic evolution for the south east of the Bética Mountain Range, with lifting over the sea level of marine terraces, the present fold of the ocean bottom and the fracture of the crust as a response to the approach of the African and Eurasian plates, which will come to collide in a geological future.

The geologists who have taken part in the study have been able to identify a wide variety of tectonic structures (different kinds of faults and folds) which are simultaneously active and will help to characterize the seismic danger of the area. Another novelty of this work is connected with the formation of the southern mountainous front of the mountain range, a determinant factor in the evolution of the coast line in the last ten million years.

These results have been published in four international journals, like Journal of Structural Geology, and in Spanish, Italian and Czech ones, besides expositions in national and international conferences.

The COST European program, financed by the European Union, has given rise to contributions between both work teams, facilitating the sharing of the knowledge acquired in each area, the interchange and collaboration in common projects with other participating countries such as Italy and Romania.

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
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