Portuguese American Journal

Furnas: Recurrent seismic activity above normal values – Azores

Experts in the Azores have alerted the population for recurrent seismic activity which they considered to be “above normal values.”

According to the Information Center for Seismic-Volcanic Surveillance of the Azores (CIVISA) multiple seismic events have been recorded on São Miguel and Terceira islands on January 4 and 5.

On Monday, CIVISA registered an earthquake of magnitude 4.1 on the Richter scale near Várzea, on São Miguel island. The quake was felt with intensity in Porto Judeu, Terceira island.

According to CIVISA, about 48 earthquakes of low magnitude occurred on Sunday in the Furnas volcano area with recurring tremors recorded on Monday. The seismic activity in the Furnas area had a magnitude range of 2.0 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was between four and five kilometers west of Furnas.

The most recent significant earthquake to hit the Azores in recent years occurred on January 1, 1980, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. The quake killed 61 people and injured over 400, causing severe damage on the islands of Terceira and São Jorge. It also shook the islands of Pico and Faial.

The Azores are sitting on the so called “Azores triple junction” area where the North American, Eurasian and African plates meet. This area is responsible for frequent geological and volcanic activity on the islands. The last major volcanic eruption was in 1958 in Capelinhos, Faial island, destroying 300 houses and causing the evacuation of 2,000 people. Earthquake occurrences are common in the Azores, for the most part registered at sea and not felt by the population.


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The Azores  (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. Vasco Cordeiro, 41, the leader of the Socialist Party (PS) in the Azores, was sworn Regional President of the Government of the Azores on October 14, 2012.

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