On May Eleventh, 2011 Spain was struck by a massive earthquake of magnitude 5.1 in the town of Lorca, which was incidentally the country’s worst earthquake in over 50 years killing 9 people and injuring nearly 300.
Through the satellite images Canadian scientists found that a fault ruptured along the basin that had been weakened due to 50 years of continuous water extraction from the ground. So while Spain was busy pumping water to fuel its agricultural needs, it might have overlooked the damage that was being caused deep within.
Researchers have pointed to the fact that uncontrolled pumping of vast amounts of water from the nearby aquifers triggered the quake in the region.
Miguel de las Doblas Lavigne , a Spanish researcher has added that the quake in Lorca was on cards as the region has been sucking water from all its nearby aquifers in order to pump up its plastic green house culture leading to depleted water levels. He points out that it is one of the main reasons for the quake to occur around the region of maximum depletion, he also says that indiscriminate digging for wells is common in Spain.
Though Jose Martinez Diez, a professor in geodynamics at Madrid’s Complutense University points out that earthquakes have occurred in the region even previously when there was no rampant digging of wells. Of course this isn’t the first time that earthquakes have been blamed on human activity. Even previously the construction of dams has been criticized by many researchers and has also been blamed for earthquakes. Dams which trap massive quantities of water are known to put a lot of pressure on the surrounding rock leading to earthquakes.
Now we don’t know what really caused that earthquake but we definitely are aware of the fact that excess removal of groundwater was responsible in one way or the other.