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October 22 2012

Groundwater extraction triggered deadly Spain quake, study says

LONDON Groundwater extraction from agriculture and industry that lowered a nearby aquifer helped spark a quake in Spain last year that killed nine people, according to a study published Sunday in Nature Geoscience.

The May 2011 earthquake in Lorca, with a magnitude of 5.1, was triggered after a 820-foot drop in groundwater from pumping since the 1960s ruptured the Earth's crust along the Alhama de Murcia fault line, according to the study led by Pablo Gonzalez of the University of Western Ontario.

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