Morocco earthquake: 'It's rare to have such large earthquakes in this area'

© Fadel Senna, AFP

On Friday evening, Morocco was hit by a magnitude 7 earthquake in the province of Al-Haouz, killing more than 2,000 people. While the seismic risk in this region was known, an earthquake of this magnitude was “unforeseeable”. FRANCE 24 talks with seismologist Florent Brenguier.

The most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Morocco struck on Friday, September 8, killing more than two thousand people, destroying many buildings and forcing residents to flee their homes.

The Rabat-based National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST) reported the magnitude 7 earthquake’s epicentre in the province of Al-Haouz, in the Atlas Mountains southwest of Marrakech.

FRANCE 24 spoke with Florent Brenguier, a seismologist at Grenoble University's Institut des Sciences de la Terre, to understand the tragedy.

In Morocco, the risk of earthquakes is concentrated in the north of the country. How do you explain such a powerful earthquake in the centre?

Florent Brenguier: It's rare to have such large earthquakes in this area ... It's important to remember that the whole of Morocco, and the whole Mediterranean region in general, is susceptible to major earthquakes. However, the majority of earthquakes are concentrated where the African and European tectonic plates meet in the north of the country – particularly around the Strait of Gibraltar.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
France ready to help Morocco when authorities 'deem it useful', says Macron
Morocco struggles after rare, powerful earthquake kills and injures scores of people
World leaders offer solidarity after devastating Morocco earthquake