Historic Earthquakes

Portugal - Morocco Area
1969 February 28 UTC
Magnitude 7.8

Located west of Portugal, the shock killed 13 people (two in Portugal and eleven in Morocco) and injured scores. It was felt as far as 1,300 kilometers from the epicenter - from Bordeaux, France, to the Canary Islands. There was only light damage to modern structures, and because of its distance from populated centers, overall property damage was moderate. In Morocco, the damage was augmented due to saturated soil conditions, caused by heavy rains, that weakened adobe structures. Ten or more people were killed in the days following the shock, without the impetus of additional shaking, as the weakened walls continued to fail and collapse. In Lisbon, Portugal, numerous cars were demolished by falling chimneys, balconies, and walls, and many were injured by falling debris. Several buildings collapsed in surrounding towns. A vessel in 2,000 fathoms of water out in the Atlantic (36°31´ North, 12°33´ West; the earthquake centered at 30.0° North, 10.6° West) reported unusual happenings at the time of the earthquake. The Captain of the Esso Newcastle reported,

"A most unusual and frightening incident happened this morning. I was shaken out of bed by a severe shuddering, vibrating and rumbling noise, with a feeling as if the ship was lifting out of the water. My first reaction was that we had lost the propeller or broken a blade ... (or) that we had struck some underwater object."

From Significant Earthquakes of the World 1969 and Earthquake Information Bulletin, Volume 2, Number 1.