The Civil Protection Department (CPD) is in “continuous contact” with the University of Malta’s science faculty in relation to the numerous tremors felt in Malta over the past days.

Malta has experienced a series of 17 tremors in the past eight days, the epicentre of which was around 120 kilometres south of Malta.

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that CPD workers have also undertaken exercises to prepare for earthquakes “with simulations in the country and intensive training abroad”.

The chain of tremors, detected by the University of Malta’s Seismic Monitoring & Research Group, started on January 17 and were of varying magnitudes, ranging from 3.9 on the Richter scale to a ground-shaking 5.2.

The government has not currently discussed the tremors on “a political level”, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Monday morning.

Replying to questions from Times of Malta, he could not say whether discussions have taken place at a technical level but promised to verify whether they are happening.

He has yet to confirm or deny the existence of these talks.

Prime Minister Robert Abela responding to questions about the tremors. Video: Chris Sant Fournier

The Seismic Monitoring & Research Group posted a guide on Friday on how to deal with an earthquake detailing what to do if inside when tremors hit - get under a desk or table and hang on to it - or, if outside - get to an open space away from anything that can fall.

"That is a standard "educational" tool, group head, geophysicist Pauline Galea, said when contacted.

But the guide is not intended to alarm people. It was posted now because people are currently extremely aware of seismic activity as a result of the tremors, so they would be more receptive to it. It did not mean that Malta should expect bigger earthquakes.

The tremors were triggered by regional tectonic forces south of Malta, Galea had explained earlier. These have been known to generate seismic activity in the past and the subsequent number of tremors are not uncommon in such sequences.

“The fault systems around the Maltese islands often demonstrate phases of activity, alternating with quiet periods. The present phase is a normal active phase,” Galea said.

The current activity does not form part of the typical “mainshock – aftershock” making it hard to determine how long the activity will last, Galea said, adding that the activity is expected to decrease in number and intensity over the next few weeks.

The last recorded tremor was on Wednesday at 8.54am, hitting a 4.1 magnitude. This is slightly lower than the 4.4 average of the 17 tremors.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us