Articles | Volume 2, issue 2
Solid Earth, 2, 199–204, 2011
Solid Earth, 2, 199–204, 2011

Short communication 05 Oct 2011

Short communication | 05 Oct 2011

The 11 May 2011 earthquake at Lorca (SE Spain) viewed in a structural-tectonic context

R. L. M. Vissers1 and B. M. L. Meijninger2 R. L. M. Vissers and B. M. L. Meijninger
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.021, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 2Fugro Engineers B.V., Leidschendam, The Netherlands

Abstract. The Lorca earthquake of 11 May 2011 in the Betic Cordillera of SE Spain occurred almost exactly on the Alhama de Murcia fault, a marked fault that forms part of a NE-SW trending belt of faults and thrusts. The fault belt is reminiscent of a strike-slip corridor, but recent structural studies have provided clear evidence for reverse motions on these faults. Focal mechanisms of the main earthquake, but also of a foreshock, are strikingly consistent with structural observations on the Alhama de Murcia fault. This strengthens the conclusion that, rather than a strike-slip fault, the fault is at present a contractional fault with an oblique reverse sense of motion, presumably in response to the NW-directed motion of Africa with respect to Europe.