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In The Aftermath

Having commemorated the 10th anniversary of the 2010 floods, it seems ironic that an earthquake should hit Madeira.  That said, the island was lucky as the earthquake was just below the ‘damage threshold.’  True to the spirit of the community Madeira was up and running this morning and I think it is a great testament to the islanders that they bounce from potentially catastrophic events with aplomb and dignity.

According to geologist and Madeira University, Professor Domingos Rodrigues the 5.3 (other publications quote 5.1) earthquake and a later smaller quake registering 2.4 on the Richter Scale were due to tectonic plate movement and not volcanic action.  Stating that as plates move the stored energy is released in the form of an earthquake.  However, there are two possible causes for last night.  The first, as already mentioned, is through normal plate movement.  The second could be due to the ‘Funchal Ridge.’ The ridge is a band of cones, formed from previous eruptions, which run through the island, in particular São Martinho, before descending into the sea and pose as an area of weakness.

However, he has pointed out that this is an assumption as yet there is not enough information about what happened last night to confirm what caused the earth to move beneath our feet.

Madeira has been affected before, as on the 26th of May 1975, an earthquake registering 7.9 on the Richter Scale shook the island.

Please be aware that if you are driving today that some roads and sections of roads are closed due to damage. These are:-

The affected roads are as follows:
1st Section – ER 103 – Between Terreiro da Luta and Poiso

2nd Section – ER 103 – Between Achada do Cabouco (São Roque do Faial) and Cruzinhas (Faial)

3. ª Section – ER 101 (VE1) – Between the roundabout of Fajã da Areia and the roundabout of Ponta Delgada

With the conditioned traffic are the following Regional Roads:

1st Section – ER 107-1 – Between Ribeira da Lapa and Eira do Serrado

3rd Section – ER 211 – Between Fajã da Areia and Ponta Delgada; ER 228 – Between Encumeada and Rosário

4th Section – ER 105 – between Encumeada and Serra de Agua

The Secretariat also informs that ER 222 has already been reopened, however, heavy traffic is prohibited.

Samantha Gannon

info at

Madeira Weekly