Earthquake in Granada Spain

Earthquake territory. At the time of moving from Barcelona to Granada, back in 2006. I was still learning about Southern Spain. I first moved to a city centre apartment in the city of Granada. At that time I was happily settling in to my new Andalusian life and getting familiar with my new surroundings.

One evening in my apartment I was startled by the floor of my flat moving. The wine glasses clinked together in the cupboard. With no idea what was happening. I recall that my neighbour was doing building work in the flat below, even though it was at 11pm. Was this normal? I suppose they eat later, go to bed late, get up later in the South.

Actually I had just experienced my first earthquake.

Bib Rambla Square Granada Spain

Earthquakes in Andalusia

I had no idea that serious earthquakes may occur in Andalusia when I changed Barcelona for Granada. I was more concerned about the heavy duty fireworks at the local festivals or endless bureaucracy.

When we think of Earthquakes, images immediately spring to mind of Turkey, Chile or devastation caused in Japan. However in Southern Spain it turns out that earthquakes are frequent. Tremors may even be on a daily basis although they tend to be small and epicentres aren’t deep. The risk in the Iberian Peninsula is moderate. Only occasionally do the earthquakes reach or surpass 6 on the Richter scale. The South West part of Spain is the area closest to where the Eurasian and African plates meet. So every now and again larger earthquakes occur in the area.

Granada Earthquake

The latest earthquake in Granada was really noticeable in Granada city, Santa Fé, Montefrio and surrounding areas. Even as far as Durcal it was noticed.

23rd January 2021 12.15h local time

Epicentre Santa Fé 

4.4 Magnitude

  • From 4.0 – 4.9 on the Richter Scale. Intensity is Light.
  • With noticeable shaking of indoor objects and rattling noises. Felt by most people in the affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally causes zero to minimal damage. Moderate to significant damage very unlikely. Some objects may fall off shelves or be knocked over.

Murcia City Spain

Murcia Earthquake

Last year in the neighbouring region of Murcia, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 killed 8 people. Causing caused severe damage to the town of Lorca. This hit the headlines across Europe. Granada is the province directly south from Murcia and on that day some tremors were even noticed in the northern part of Granada.

Earthquake in Andalusia Spain

An example from the end of February 2012, in the Granada village of Cacín, a quake of 3.6 on the Richter scale shook a large area. Although the locals were concerned no harm was done. Even though this area is the most Seismic area in Spain. You still never quite get used to it. It is still unnerving.

On Christmas Eve of 2011, as many as 11 earthquakes were recorded in Moraleda de Zafayona. This eastern Granada village trembled although it only reached 2.3 on the Richter scale. In April 2010 the city of Granada experienced a tremor of 6.2. Yet due to the depth of the impact being 616kms underground the earthquake didn´t cause damage to the city and nor to the Alhambra.Almeria Cathedral Spain by piccavey

Carboneras Fault

The largest earthquake in Spain was in 1522 in Almeria. This was 7 on the Richter scale and destroyed Almeria Cathedral. It was so powerful that it caused damaged to places like Ugijar in the Alpujarra region of Granada province. And even as far as the Alhambra Palace some 100kms away.

Arenas del Rey

If we look back further through the records, on April 19 1956 in the town of Albolote. Just outside the city, an earthquake reaching 5.8 – 6.7 on the Richter scale killed 12 people and destroyed 250 homes. This was over hundred years ago. It was the most deadly quake registered in Spain. The village of Arenas del Rey was the epicentre. That year in 1884 more than 800 people died and 4000 homes were destroyed.

Arenas del Rey via El independiente de Granada

This tremor had an estimated magnitude of 6.5 – 7 Richter Of course the quality of building has improved and should an earthquake of over 6 on the Richter scale affect us now the impact should be minimal. More detailed information can be found here: Instituto Nacional Geologia

Luckily my experience of the earthquakes in Granada so far is anecdotal. I just hope that if we ever get a big quake that my builder was a good one.