Seismic history of the Maltese islands and considerations on seismic risk

P. Galea

Abstract


A historical catalogue of felt earthquakes in the Maltese islands has been compiled dating back to 1530. Although
no fatalities were officially recorded during this time as a direct consequence of earthquake effects, serious
damage to buildings occurred several times. In the catalogue time period, the islands experienced EMS-98
intensity VII-VIII once (11 January 1693) and intensity VII, or VI-VII five times. The northern segment of the
Hyblean-Malta plateau is the source region which appears to pose the greatest threat, although large Greek
events and lower magnitude Sicily Channel events also produced damage. Estimates of return periods for intensity
?V are presented, and it is shown that expected peak ground accelerations justify the implementation of, at
least, minimum anti-seismic provisions. The rapid and continual increase in the local building stock on the
densely-populated islands warrants the implementation of an appropriate seismic building code to be enforced.

Keywords


Maltese islands;historical earthquakes;earthquake catalogue;return periods;seismic risk

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3053
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X