By Humphrey Carter AN earthquake which registered four points on the Richter scale shook the south east region of Majorca in the early hours of yesterday morning. Hundreds of people in the villages around Sant Joan, where the epicentre was, were woken as their houses and beds shook. Scores called the Bulletin yesterday morning in an attempt to find out just what had happened.

The Spanish National Geographic Institute confirmed that at 02.56 an earthquake measuring four points at its peak on the Richter scale was detected in Majorca with its epicentre in Sant Joan.

Emilio Carreño, the geographic institute's earthquake director said that the tremor was “significant” although it did not cause any damage.
Nevertheless, it gave the people of the villages affected, a major scare.
In Sant Joan and Montuiri the tremor peaked at four points on the Richter scale, in Lloret, Sineu and Sencelles it reached three points and in Vilafranca de Bonany and Costitx two. But, judging from the calls received by the Bulletin the tremor was felt all over the south east of the island.

British resident Graham Twitchen who lives in Sineu said that he was just nodding off when he heard a “growling noise, a deep rumble” which started getting louder and louder, “then my bed started shaking. “All the dogs started barking and I quickly made sure all the kids were OK,” he said.
Most people were fast asleep and were woken by the tremors from the earthquake.
Carreño said that the epicentre was an estimated 28 kilometres below the south east of San Joan at the co-ordinates latitude 39.58 degrees north and longitude 3.05 degrees east.

The quake expert added that the Balearics is located in an area of very low quake activity. Since the end of the 17th century, the islands have been hit by 54 earthquakes - the strongest registering seven points on the Richter scale.

The most recent big tremors were in March last year when two, one of three points and the other 1.5 were registered in Majorca.
Yesterday's Majorca tremor was followed by a tremor off the coast of Malaga and a third in Portugal which registered 2.1 on the Richter scale. With its epicentre in Faro, it was felt in parts of Huelva, across the border in Western Spain.

In May of 2003, widespread damage was caused in a number of Balearic ports by a tsunami caused by a powerful earthquake off Algeria.