"It's plate tectonics that translates in one go also in France" explains a seismologist

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France has already experienced earthquakes of this magnitude recalls the specialist. And even stronger than Monday's.

The magnitude 5.4 earthquake that occurred on Monday, November 11, shortly before noon near Montelimar (Drôme) is not exceptional. "There have already been earthquakes of this magnitude, and even stronger earthquakes" in France, assured Franceinfo Yann Klinger, seismologist, director of CNRS research at the Institute of Physics of the Globe of Paris. "It is plate tectonics that translates in one go also in France."

Franceinfo: Have there ever been earthquakes of this magnitude in France?

Yann Klinger: Of course, there have already been earthquakes of this magnitude, and even stronger earthquakes, with the great French earthquake of 1909, of magnitude 6, in Lambesc, in the hinterland of Aix. Knowing that between 5 and 6 is very different, you have a factor 30 in terms of energy. There are quite often small earthquakes in France, in the Armorican massif, the front of the Alps and the Rhone, and the Rhine.

Does this reflect a particular activity?

This reflects the fact that plate tectonics, with the approximation of the African plate compared to the Eurasia plate, has a reality, with flaws that move, with extremely slow speeds, but which from time to time generate a small earthquake. It is the plate tectonics that translates in one go also in France.

It can go up to what magnitude?

We do not make predictions, today we do not predict earthquakes, but we are interested in faults. We know that there are faults of several kilometers in France, so we could have earthquakes of magnitude 6 in France. It depends on the size of the fault that will break, and how much it will move on the fault surface.



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