WE KNOW the statistics, we've seen the pictures, we've signed the petitions and pressured the supermarkets – but the plastic waste problem persists, and it seems it's bigger than any of us. Bringing our...
More than 140 underwater earthquakes in Gulf of Valencia caused by gas rig
OVER 20 earthquakes were felt in the Gulf of Valencia yesterday (Tuesday), making a total of 141 in the last week and a half – the most severe of which measured 4.2 on the Richter scale.
Each of them has had its epicentre near the Castor gas-drilling platform off the coast of Vinaròs (Castellón province), says the National Geographical Institute.
Some 1.2 billion euros have been invested in the Castor project, which is attempting to exploit an old oil pocket around 1.75 kilometres below the sea-bed and which will cover a third of the Valencia region's gas supply needs for 50 days.
But since drilling began on September 13, nearly 300 earthquakes have been reported.
Most of these have been of very low intensity, meaning they would not be felt, but lately they have reached levels that could cause damage or injury in the immediate area.
The worst so far was at 03.23hrs on Tuesday morning, registering 4.2 on the Richter scale, beating the record set the previous day of 3.9.
Spokesman for the Spanish College of Geographers, Jonathan Gómez Cantero warned that the micro-quakes being caused by the Castor platform's activities were increasing in frequency and severity.
Spain's ministry for industry ordered the plant to down tools temporarily on Thursday last week to enable experts to investigate the cause of the quakes.
Yet Gómez Cantero says gas-drilling does not have to be carried out for the tremors caused by the Castor platform to be ongoing.
Also a consultant for the United Nations, Gómez Cantero says the situation should remain on red alert as it is 'not yet under control'.
The quakes could have serious consequences for the area, affecting both the coast and sea-bed, harming marine life and leading to underwater landslides, adds the geographer.
Due to its proximity to the Ebro river delta, a clay-soil area, the Gulf of Valencia is highly prone to this type of geographical phenomenon anyway, without the aggravation of a gas-drilling rig, Gómez Cantero warns.
You may also be interested in ...
More Environment/Nature content
'HURRICANE Miguel' is on its way to mainland Spain, although the Met office expects most of the east and south will escape its effects. The State weather office AEMET said an 'explosive cyclogenesis' was...
SPAIN has become a 'role model' for other parts of the world thanks to its medications disposal system which helps prevent water contamination and other environmental hazards, according to the non-profit...
FOUR seasons in one day – or at least in one week – are relatively common in May and the northern half of the country tends to be cooler than the south; but this weekend will bring a rare, extreme contrast, says the...