At the western end of the Mediterranean Sea is the Iberia microplate, broadly occupying the area of Spain and Portugal. This plate has also collided with Europe, causing the rise of the Pyrenees. Current earthquake activity is in the Pyrenees and in the southern edge of the Iberia microplate, near Africa. The well-known tsunami, which hit Lisbon in 1755, was likely an earthquake offshore Europe in the Atlantic Ocean.
Like in other parts of the world, earthquakes in Europe also occur in regions that are far from today’s tectonic boundaries, such as in Germany, the Czech Republic and United Kingdom. These events are primarily caused by remnant stresses from the geologic history. Some of them can be associated to moving fluids in the Earth’s crust, either naturally or artificially (see geothermal projects / fracking page).
Scientists produce seismic hazard maps based on computations on the probability of earthquakes happening in different areas of Europe. These maps must be regularly updated based on new methods that reflect the latest earthquake catalogues and recorded data. The current map highlights how seismic hazard should be an important consideration in the everyday life of many Europeans.