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Did you know that Monaco is exposed to earthquake risk?

Casino square in Monaco
Casino square in Monaco / Photo: Zsolt Szemerszky

Certain areas of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, including the Principality of Monaco, are exposed to earthquake risk. The Principality of Monaco is considered an area of medium seismicity that is periodically shaken by small earthquakes.

The last important earthquake in Monaco was in February 1995. Luckily the epicenter was in the sea, south of Monaco. Still, it had a 4.7 magnitude scale.

Probably, the most important earthquakes which affected Monaco were in 1494, 1564, 1618, 1644, but it is difficult to evaluate the damage and the local intensity as the population was not large at this time.

The structural features of Monaco area were influenced by large sinistral strike-slip faults that formed lateral pitches during the arrival of alpine overlaps and by the presence of front-country shallows that formed front buffers. This causes almost daily micro-earthquakes in the Principality, which are not noticeable.

Analysing the hazard assessment is important since the active Blausasc fault, a hidden, 15 km long root of the Peille-Laghet fault is located in a densely populated zone, at only 10 km from the crowded Principality of Monaco.

The last destructive earthquake was the Ligurian earthquake in 1887. It caused damage in Monaco with an intensity greater than 7 magnitude.

Despite the facts that micro-earthquakes are happening on a daily base in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, the Principality enjoys a low, moderate risk for larger, damaging earthquakes.

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