It was gloomy night under the stars for tens of thousands of Spaniards who slept outside fearing aftershocks from yesterday's earthquake. At least nine people died and 30 were hospitalized for injuries following the pair of 4.4- and 5.2-magnitude temblors, according to Spain's geological institute. Only a few buildings were destroyed, but the resulting damage could still take weeks to repair. Officials estimated that about 30,000 people spent the night outdoors after the quakes, almost a third of the city's 90,000 population.
Spanish experts said the quakes caused so much damage because they happened about 0.6 miles below ground, magnifying their energy and destructive power. Lorca itself looked like a war zone, with cars crushed by rubble and buildings scarred with cracks. The regional government said much of the damage was caused by parts of terraces in apartment buildings and masonry facade shook loose by the quakes. Lorca also suffered quakes of roughly the same magnitude in 1999, 2002, and 2005 that caused damage, but no injuries.