French expert Philippe Vernant, specializing in active tectonics, particularly in Morocco at the University of Montpellier, shared insights into the recent devastating earthquake in Morocco and its seismic activity. While it didn’t occur in the most active seismological region, Vernant cautioned that aftershocks should be expected.
– **Surprise Factor:** Vernant highlighted that earthquakes are not a surprise in Morocco. The country has a history of seismic events, including the destructive Agadir earthquake in 1960 and the Al Hoceima earthquake in 2004. There have been records of significant earthquakes dating back to the 18th century, particularly in the Fez region. Therefore, seismic activity is a known risk in Morocco.
– **Epicenter Location:** The epicenter of the recent earthquake was not situated in the most active seismic area of Morocco. However, the presence of the High Atlas mountains in the region contributes to this type of seismic activity and is linked to the geological processes responsible for the formation of the High Atlas range.
– **Comparison with Turkey:** Vernant drew a distinction between the Morocco earthquake and the one that occurred in Turkey in February. In Turkey, the earthquake was characterized by horizontal movement, driven by the country’s westward shift toward Greece, resulting in the sliding of tectonic plates. In Morocco, the seismic activity involves more of a convergence between Africa, Eurasia, and Iberia (the Spanish part of the region), with overlapping faults. Despite these differences, both regions are still influenced by plate boundary interactions.
Vernant’s expertise sheds light on the seismic dynamics in Morocco and the factors contributing to earthquake occurrences in the region, emphasizing the importance of preparedness and vigilance in earthquake-prone areas.