[Paleopsych] Where Was God During the Tsunami?
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Subject: [Paleopsych] Where Was God During the Tsunami?
Where Was God During the Tsunami?
[There follows the Wikipedia article on the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
Socially, it was the most important earthquake in history, with the
possible exception of the alleged earthquake that destroyed the alleged
Atlantis, since the Lisbon earthquake lead to widespread doubts about
the goodness of the Creator if not his existence.
[The Plague also had by far the most important social impact in Europe,
though it killed the same third of the population in China and India as
it did in Europe. In Europe, the medieval theological fiction of the
"just price" came to differ not greatly from the market price over the
decades. But after the plague struck, the labor supply was so diminished
that its price should have gone way up. The fiction of "finding the law"
in eternal principles like the "just price" ceased to be viable. Common
law, the accretion of judicial decisions, allowed the fiction to be
maintained. If the principles say this happens in case A and that
happens in case B, a judge would decide what happens in case A 1/2. The
judge would not make law; he would find law by filling it in. A major
overhaul of the law, called a statute, was very rare, though there was
some movement in that direction with, say, the Second Statute of
Westminster of 12. (Exactly why the First Statute was not a true
statute, I am not sure.)
[Anyhow, after the Black Death, one of the first statutes was the
Statute of Laborers, which (futilely) tried to prevent the price of
labor from rising. The trend to the deliberate creation of law, and thus
a new concept of law, really got going as the result of the Black Death.
By 1776 in a world changed, not by another plague, but by the experience
of 193 years of having to deal with changed circumstances (dating from
Roanoke Island), Mr. Jefferson could speak of "the Right of the People
to ... institute new Government, laying its Foundations on such
Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
[In China and India, the Plague caused no such upheaval from law as
eternal to (ultimately) law as fostering happiness, and no earthquake
outside of Europe triggered such a widespread questioning of religion.
Guardian: How can religious people explain something like this?
How can religious people explain something like this?
Earthquakes led 18th-century thinkers to ask questions we shy away
Tuesday December 28, 2004
The modern era flatters itself that human beings can now know and
shape almost everything about the world. But an event like the
Indonesian earthquake exposes much of this for the hubris that it
Perhaps we have talked so much about our civilization's potential to
destroy the planet that we have forgotten that the planet also has
untamed ability to destroy civilisation too. Whatever else it has
achieved, the Indian Ocean tsunami has at least reminded mankind of
its enduring vulnerability in the face of nature. The scale of
suffering that it has wreaked - 20,000 deaths and counting - shows
that we share such dangers with our ancestors more fully than most
An entirely understandable reaction to such an event is to set one's
face against any large questions that it may raise. But this week
provides an unsought opportunity to consider the largest of all
implications of any major earthquake: its challenge to religion.
A few days after the 9/11 attacks on New York, I had dinner with the
Guardian's late columnist Hugo Young. We were still so close to the
event itself that only one topic of conversation was possible. At
stage I asked Hugo how his Catholicism allowed him to explain such a
terrible act. I'm afraid that's an easy one, he replied.
We are all fallen beings, Hugo declared, and our life in this world
a vale of tears. So some human beings will always kill one another.
The attack on New York should therefore be seen not as an act of
but as an act of fallen humanity. Then he paused, and added: "But I
admit I have much more difficulty with earthquakes."
Earthquakes and the belief in the judgment of God are, indeed, very
hard to reconcile. However, no religion that offers an explanation
the world can avoid making some kind of an attempt to fit the two
together. And an immense earthquake like the one that took place off
Sumatra on Sunday inevitably poses that challenge afresh in dramatic
There is, after all, only one big question to ask about an event of
such destructive power as the one that has taken place this week:
did it happen?
As with previous earthquakes, any explanation of this latest one
us a sharp intellectual choice. Either there is an entirely natural
explanation for it, or there is some other kind. Even the natural
is by no means easy to imagine, but it is at least wholly coherent.
The tsunami took place, say the seismologists, because a massive
tectonic rupture on the sea bed generated tremors through the ocean.
These unimaginable forces sent their energy coursing across
of miles of water, resulting in death and destruction in a vast arc
from Somalia to Indonesia.
But what do world views that do not allow scientists undisputed
authority have to say about such phenomena? Where do the
stand, for example? Such world views are more widespread, even now,
than a secularised society such as ours sometimes prefers to think.
For most of human history people have tried to explain earthquakes
acts of divine intervention and displeasure. Even as the churches
collapsed around them in 1755, Lisbon's priests insisted on
crucifixes and religious icons with which to ward off the
that would kill more than 50,000 of their fellow citizens.
Others, though, began to draw different conclusions. Voltaire asked
what kind of God could permit such a thing to occur. Did Lisbon
have so many more vices than London or Paris, he asked, that it
be punished in such a appalling and indiscriminate manner? Immanuel
Kant was so amazed by what happened to Lisbon that he wrote three
separate treatises on the problem of earthquakes.
Our own society seems to be more squeamish about such things. The
for mutual respect between peoples and traditions of which the Queen
spoke in her Christmas broadcast seems to require that we must all
respect religions in equal measure, too. The government, indeed, is
legislating to prevent expressions of religious hatred in ways that
could put a cordon around the critical discussion of religion
Yet it is hard to think of any event in modern times that requires a
more serious explanation from the forces of religion than this
earthquake. Voltaire's 18th-century question to Christians - why
Lisbon? - ought to generate a whole series of 21st-century
for all the religions of the world.
Certainly the giant waves generated by the quake made no attempt to
differentiate between the religions of those whom it made its
Hindus were swept away in India, Muslims were carried off in
Indonesia, Buddhists in Thailand. Visiting Christians and Jews
received no special treatment either. This poses no problem for the
scientific belief system. Here, it says, was a mindless natural
which destroyed Muslim and Hindu alike.
A non-scientific belief system, especially one that is based on any
kind of notion of a divine order, has some explaining to do,
What God sanctions an earthquake? What God protects against it? Why
does the quake strike these places and these peoples and not others?
What kind of order is it that decrees that a person who went to
by the edge of the ocean on Christmas night should wake up the next
morning engulfed by the waves, struggling for life?
From at least the time of Aristotle, intelligent people have
to make some sense of earthquakes. Earthquakes do not merely kill
destroy. They challenge human beings to explain the world order in
which such apparently indiscriminate acts can occur. Europe in the
18th century had the intellectual curiosity and independence to ask
and answer such questions. But can we say the same of 21st-century
Europe? Or are we too cowed now to even ask if the God can exist
can do such things?
martin.kettle at guardian.co.uk
To God, an age-old question
The Telegraph - Calcutta : International
A woman gestures as she cries on a street of Nagapattinam, some 350
south of Chennai. (AFP)
London, Dec. 30 (Reuters): It is one of the oldest, most profound
questions, posed by some of the most learned minds of every faith
throughout the course of human history.
It was put eloquently this week by an old woman in a devastated
village in southern Indias Tamil Nadu. Why did you do this to us,
she wailed. What did we do to upset you?
Perhaps no event in living memory has confronted the worlds great
religions with such a basic test of faith as this weeks tsunami,
indiscriminately slaughtered Indonesian Muslims, Indians of all
faiths, Thai and Sri Lankan Buddhists and tourists who were
In temples, mosques, churches and synagogues across the globe,
are being called upon to explain: How could a benevolent God visit
such horror on ordinary people?
Traditionalists of diverse faiths described the destruction as part
gods plan, proof of his power and punishment for human sins.
This is an expression of Gods great ire with the world, Israeli
rabbi Shlomo Amar said.
Pandit Harikrishna Shastri, a priest of New Delhis Birla temple said
the disaster was caused by a huge amount of pent-up man-made evil on
earth and driven by the positions of the planets.
Azizan Abdul Razak, a Muslim cleric and vice president of Malaysias
Islamic opposition party, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, said the disaster
was a reminder from god that he created the world and can destroy
Many faiths believe disasters foretell the end of time or the coming
of a Messiah. Some Christians expect chaos and destruction as
in the Bibles final book, Revelations. Maria, a 32-year-old Jehovahs
Witness in Cyprus who believes that the apocalypse is coming said
people who once slammed the door in her face were stopping to
It is a sign of the last days, she said.
But for others, such calamities can prompt a repudiation of faith.
Secularist Martin Kettle wrote in Britains Guardian newspaper that
tsunamis should force people to ask if the God can exist that can do
such things? or if there is no God, just nature.
This poses no problem for the scientific belief system. Here, it
was a mindless natural event which destroyed Muslim and Hindu alike,
he wrote. A non-scientific belief system, especially one that is
on any kind of notion of a divine order, has some explaining to do,
It is a question that clergy have to deal with nearly every day, not
just at times of great catastrophe but when providing consolation
the daily sorrows of life, said US Rabbi Daniel Isaak, of
Neveh Shalom, in Portland, Oregon. It is really difficult to believe
in a God that not only creates a tsunami that kills 50 or 60
people, but that puts birth defects in children, he said.
In one modern view, he said, God does not interfere in the affairs
his creation. This is not something that God has done. The world has
certain imperfections built into the natural order, and we have to
live with them. The issue isnt Why did God do this to us? but How do
we human beings care for one another?
Waves of destruction wash away belief in God's benevolence
Sydney Morning Herald
December 30, 2004
Compassion is the best response when humanity faces the problem of
evil, writes Edward Spence.
"Why did you do this to us, God? What did we do to upset you?" asked
woman in India this week, a heart-wrenching question asked in common
these past few days by Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians.
Nothing could have prepared us for what happened when the tsunami
unleashed its terror. So we seek answers where answers are hard to
come by, in either secular or sacred realms.
Traditionally, the Judeo-Christian God, considered the most supreme
and perfect being in the universe, has been ascribed the following
necessary attributes: omniscience (all-knowing), omnipresence
everywhere at all times and at once), omnipotence (almighty and
powerful) and benevolence (all good and caring).
How, then, did a God as powerful and benevolent as this allow such a
thing to happen? If he is benevolent then he cannot also be
omnipotent, for a God who has both these attributes would have
to, cared to and been able to prevent such a catastrophe.
Perhaps, though omnipotent, He is not benevolent. That might explain
why, although it was within His power to stop the tsunami, He simply
chose not to: God has His own reasons and we are not to ask why.
However, this answer will not suffice since by definition God is
perfect. Being perfect, He must of necessity not merely be
but benevolent as well.
A possible solution to this problem, traditionally known as the
problem of evil, was offered by the heretical Manicheans, who
not in one supreme being but two: one good God responsible for all
good things in life and another bad God, Satan, responsible for all
the evil in the world.
St Augustine, a follower in his early 20s, became an ardent critic
this doctrine, thinking a weak God powerless to defeat Satan was not
Philosophically, if God is perfect, then there can be only one
God, not two. In any case, evil is an imperfection and thus not a
characteristic that can be attributed to God.
If the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are at play and the
deaths caused by the tsunami are a cosmic payback in the form of
karma, does that offer a solution, albeit a philosophical one, to
problem of evil? I think not. For how can children, some as young as
few months, who had not yet lived their lives, deserve to be
so cruelly for their past sins - especially when they have not been
offered the promised divine opportunity to atone for those sins
through another life?
Even if solutions are forthcoming to these philosophical conundrums,
humanely speaking they make little sense. Perhaps that is why some
people remain sceptical about the presence of any divine providence
ruling over us.
A compromise solution, between secular scepticism and a
need for the sacred, was offered by the Greek philosopher Epicurus.
Although believing in gods, he claimed these divine beings would not
want to diminish their heavenly happiness by mingling in the sordid
affairs of mortals. For Epicurus, the gods were not crazy but simply
indifferent to both human joys and sorrows. When it comes to social
natural evils, we are all alone.
But if natural disasters are merely random events caused by the
uncaring and blind forces of nature, does this offer us any comfort
meaning in the face of the apocalyptic events on Boxing Day?
Even if our heads offer us such solutions, our hearts refuse to
follow. For the problem of evil is an existential problem that
confronts our own individual mortality and vulnerability to unknown
and unexpected disasters.
Ultimately, heartfelt tears shed in earnest and with compassion,
offerings of charity for those who have suffered, are more
than any theological and philosophical treatise on the problem of
evil. Especially at Christmas when, according to the gospels, love
the single core message.
Perhaps this is the essence, if the legend is true, of what God
from us when He walked and suffered as a man among us. Ultimately,
problem of evil confronts us not as a puzzle to be solved but as a
mystery to be experienced. And as Jesus and Plato before him
indicated, the meaning of the mystery of life can be found only by
experiencing another great mystery - the mystery of love.
Dr Edward Spence is a philosopher at the Centre for Applied
and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University.
Tremors of Doubt: What kind of God would allow a deadly tsunami?
BY DAVID B. HART
Wall St. Journal.
Friday, December 31, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST
On Nov. 1, 1755, a great earthquake struck offshore of Lisbon. In
city alone, some 60,000 perished, first from the tremors, then from
the massive tsunami that arrived half an hour later. Fires consumed
much of what remained of the city. The tidal waves spread death
the coasts of Iberia and North Africa.
Voltaire's "Poëme sur le désastre de Lisbonne" of the following year
was an exquisitely savage--though sober--assault upon the theodicies
prevalent in his time. For those who would argue that "all is good"
and "all is necessary," that the universe is an elaborately
harmony of pain and pleasure, or that this is the best of all
worlds, Voltaire's scorn was boundless: By what calculus of
good can one reckon the value of "infants crushed upon their
breasts," the dying "sad inhabitants of desolate shores," the whole
"fatal chaos of individual miseries"?
Perhaps the most disturbing argument against submission to "the will
of God" in human suffering--especially the suffering of
placed in the mouth of Ivan Karamazov by Dostoyevsky; but the evils
Ivan enumerates are all acts of human cruelty, for which one can at
least assign a clear culpability. Natural calamities usually seem a
greater challenge to the certitudes of believers in a just and
beneficent God than the sorrows induced by human iniquity.
Considered dispassionately, though, man is part of the natural
and his propensity for malice should be no less a scandal to the
conscience of the metaphysical optimist than the most violent
convulsions of the physical world. The same ancient question is
apposite to the horrors of history and nature alike: Whence comes
evil? And as Voltaire so elegantly apostrophizes, it is useless to
invoke the balances of the great chain of being, for that chain is
held in God's hand and he is not enchained.
As a Christian, I cannot imagine any answer to the question of evil
likely to satisfy an unbeliever; I can note, though, that--for all
urgency--Voltaire's version of the question is not in any proper
"theological." The God of Voltaire's poem is a particular kind of
"deist" God, who has shaped and ordered the world just as it now is,
in accord with his exact intentions, and who presides over all its
eventualities austerely attentive to a precise equilibrium between
felicity and morality. Not that reckless Christians have not
occasionally spoken in such terms; but this is not the Christian
The Christian understanding of evil has always been more radical and
fantastic than that of any theodicist; for it denies from the outset
that suffering, death and evil have any ultimate meaning at all.
Perhaps no doctrine is more insufferably fabulous to non-Christians
than the claim that we exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a
primordial catastrophe, that this is a broken and wounded world,
cosmic time is the shadow of true time, and that the universe
languishes in bondage to "powers" and "principalities"--spiritual
terrestrial--alien to God. In the Gospel of John, especially, the
incarnate God enters a world at once his own and yet hostile to
him--"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the
world knew him not"--and his appearance within "this cosmos" is both
an act of judgment and a rescue of the beauties of creation from the
torments of fallen nature.
Whatever one makes of this story, it is no bland cosmic optimism.
at the heart of the gospel is an ineradicable triumphalism, a
conviction that the victory over evil and death has been won; but it
is also a victory yet to come. As Paul says, all creation groans in
anguished anticipation of the day when God's glory will transfigure
all things. For now, we live amid a strife of darkness and light.
When confronted by the sheer savage immensity of worldly
suffering--when we see the entire littoral rim of the Indian Ocean
strewn with tens of thousands of corpses, a third of them
children's--no Christian is licensed to utter odious banalities
God's inscrutable counsels or blasphemous suggestions that all this
mysteriously serves God's good ends. We are permitted only to hate
death and waste and the imbecile forces of chance that shatter
souls, to believe that creation is in agony in its bonds, to see
world as divided between two kingdoms--knowing all the while that it
is only charity that can sustain us against "fate," and that must do
so until the end of days.
Mr. Hart, an Eastern Orthodox theologian, is the author of "The
of the Infinite" (Eerdmans).
CHE: The Cultural and Historical Significance of the Tsunami Disaster
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.1.7
By DAVID GLENN
The terrible Lisbon earthquake of 1755 inspired poems, novels, and
decades of theological debate. The Managua earthquake of 1972 is
widely believed to have hastened the end of Anastasio Somoza
regime in Nicaragua. (Somoza diverted international relief aid into
private bank accounts; citizens were not amused.) Last month's
Ocean tsunamis will almost certainly have long-term repercussions of
their own. Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, a professor of earth science at
Wesleyan University, explores the aftermath of trauma in his new
Earthquakes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Seismic
Disruptions (Princeton University Press), which he wrote with Donald
Theodore Sanders, a freelance science writer.
Q. You were born in Indonesia. Based on your studies of other
earthquakes worldwide, how do you think this new disaster will shape
the country's future?
A. Events don't just stop short. The present situation that we have
Sumatra is very indicative of that. We are now terribly concerned
about possibly as many as 100,000 people who might have died there.
But we should also think about those who survived. There are many
people who have settled along the coast to serve tourists...and have
been able to invest, let's say, first in a bike, then a small
motorbike, then maybe a small Toyota. And they were coming up in
from the lowermost poverty levels. Now, suddenly, within a few
minutes, in an hour, all that is gone....It will take at least a
decade for those people to reconstruct their lives.
Q. In your book, you point out that after almost every major
historical earthquake, people have argued that divine retribution
A. Many people in Indonesia are well educated enough by now to no
longer really believe in that. But there is still a strong religious
undercurrent. So I'm very sure that a number of people there do
believe that this is some kind of a punishment....That kind of fear
will continue as long as there are aftershocks. And we know that
an earthquake like this, we'll have aftershocks for at least a year.
So during this period, of course, people will go to churches and
mosques and pray for liberation from continuing punishment, not
realizing that this is a natural phenomenon that cannot be handled
whoever is upstairs.
Q. It took weeks for people in the American colonies to learn about
the Lisbon earthquake. Images of last week's tsunamis were
A. It may mean that we also forget more quickly. We now see this,
we think, How terrible and how incredible, and We'll have to send
money. But like everything else in this world, things are going
faster. So maybe in another month, other difficulties will attract
headlines. That's the kind of thing that I always find the most
unfortunate. Over time I think we have become more shallow.
1755 Lisbon earthquake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1755 Lisbon earthquake
According to Paul Kiernan, expert of Lisbon history and Partner at
H&K law firm in Washington DC, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake took
place on November 1, 1755 at 9:20 in the morning. It was one
the most destructive and deadly earthquakes in history, killing
over 100,000 people. The quake was followed by a tsunami and
resulting in the near total destruction of Lisbon. The quake had a
strong impact on 18th century society, including accelerating a
political conflict in Portugal and being the subject of the
scientific study of an earthquake's effect over a large area. Modern
geologists estimate that the Lisbon earthquake approached
magnitude 9 on the Richter scale.
1 The earthquake
2 The day after
3 Social implications
4 The birth of seismology
5 External link
The ruins of the Carmo convent, which was destroyed in the
The earthquake struck in early morning of November 1, the All
Saints Day Catholic holiday. Contemporary reports state that the
earthquake lasted between three-and-a-half to six minutes, causing
gigantic fissures five meters wide to rip apart the city centre. The
survivors rushed to the open space of the docks for safety and
as the water receded, revealing the sea floor, littered by lost
and old shipwrecks. Tens of minutes later an enormous tsunami
engulfed the harbour, and the city downtown. In the areas unaffected
by the tsunami, fire quickly broke out, and flames raged for five
Lisbon was not the only Portuguese city affected by the
catastrophe. All the south of the country, namely the Algarve,
affected and destruction was generalized. The shockwaves of the
earthquake were felt throughout Europe and North Africa.
Tsunamis up to twenty meters in height swept the coast from North
Africa to Finland and across the Atlantic to Martinique
Of a population of 275,000, about 90,000 were killed. Another 10,000
were killed across the Mediterranean in Morocco. Eighty-five
percent of Lisbon's buildings were destroyed, including its famous
palaces and libraries. Several buildings which had suffered little
damage due to the earthquake were destroyed by the fire. The brand
Opera House, opened only six months before, was burned to the
The Royal Palace stood just beside the Tagus river in the modern
square of Terreiro do Paço, and was destroyed by the earthquake and
the tsunami. Inside, the 70,000-volume library and hundreds of works
of art, including paintings by Titian, Rubens, and
Correggio, were lost. The precious royal archives concerning the
exploration of the Atlantic and old documents also disappeared. The
earthquake also destroyed the major churches of Lisbon, namely the
Cathedral of Santa Maria, and the Basilicas of São Paulo,
Santa Catarina, São Vincente de Fora, and the Misericordia. The
of the Carmo convent can still be visited today in the centre of the
city. The Royal Hospital of All-Saints was consumed by fire and
hundreds of patients burned to death.
The day after
Due to a stroke of luck, the royal family escaped unharmed from the
catastrophe. King Joseph I of Portugal and the court had left
city, after attending mass at sunrise. The reason was the will of
of the princesses to have a holy day away from the city. The king
very fond of his four daughters and decided to oblige her wishes.
After the catastrophe, Joseph I developed a fear of living within
walls, and the court was accommodated in a huge complex of tents and
pavilions in the hills of Ajuda, then in the outskirts of Lisbon.
Like the king, the prime minister Sebastião de Melo (the Marquis
of Pombal) survived the earthquake. With the pragmatism that
characterized his rule, the prime minister immediately started to
organize the reconstruction. He was not paralysed with shock and is
reported to have answered: Now? We bury the dead and take care of
living. His quick response put fire-fighters in the city to
the flames, and sent in teams to remove the thousands of corpses,
quelling fears that corpses would lead to an epidemic.
As for the city itself, the prime minister and the king hired
architects and engineers and less than a year later, Lisbon was
already free from the debris and being reconstructed. The king was
keen to have a new, perfectly ordained city. Big squares and
rectilinear, large avenues were the mottos of the new Lisbon. At the
time, somebody asked the Marquis of Pombal what was the need of such
wide streets. The Marquis answered: one day they will be small...
indeed, the chaotic traffic of Lisbon reflects the wisdom of the
The new downtown, known nowadays as the Pombaline Downtown, is one
Lisbon's attractions. These buildings are also among the first
protected constructions in the world. Small wooden models were built
for testing and the earthquake was simulated by marching troops
The earthquake shook a lot more than a city and its buildings.
was the capital of a devout Catholic country, with a history of
investments in the church and evangelisation of the colonies.
Moreover, the catastrophe struck on a Catholic holiday and destroyed
every important church. For the religious minds of the 18th century,
this manifestation of the anger of God was difficult to explain. In
the following days, priests roamed the city hanging people suspected
of heresy on sight, blaming them for the disaster. Many contemporary
writers, such as Voltaire, mentioned the earthquake on their
writings. The Lisbon earthquake made many people wonder about the
existence of a God who permitted these events to happen.
In the internal politics, the earthquake was also devastating. The
prime minister was the favourite of the king, but the high nobility
despised him as an upstart. The feelings were returned and a
struggle for power and royal favour was taking place. After November
1, the competent response of the Marquis of Pombal severed the power
of the aristocratic faction. Conflicts were constant and silent
opposition to King Joseph I started to rise. This would end in an
attempted murder of the king and the elimination of the powerful
Tavora family. See Tavora affair for the whole account.
The birth of seismology
The competent action of the prime minister was not limited to the
practicalities of the reconstruction. The Marquis ordered a query to
be sent to all parishes of the country, regarding the earthquake
and its effects. Questions included:
* how long did the earthquake last?
* how many aftershocks were felt?
* what kind of damage was caused?
* did animals behave strangely? (this question may sound strange
it anticipated studies by Chinese seismologists in the
* what happened in the water holes?
and many others. The answers are still archived in the Tower of
the national historical archive. Studying and cross-referencing the
priests' accounts, modern scientists were able to reconstruct the
event in a scientific perspective. Without the query designed by the
Marquis of Pombal, the first attempt of a seismological,
description, this would be impossible. This is why the Marquis is
regarded as the precursor of seismological sciences.
The geological causes of this earthquake and the seismic
in the region of Lisbon are still being discussed by modern
scientists. Since Lisbon is located in a centre of a tectonic
plate, there are no obvious reasons for the event. Portuguese
geologists have suggested that the earthquake is related with the
first steps of development of an Atlantic subduction zone.
Note: Despite the fact that the prime minister Sebastião de Melo is
mentioned here as Marquis of Pombal, the title was only granted
See also: List of earthquakes
* Historical Depictions of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake
More information about the paleopsych