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Spanish gas-drilling platform linked to nearly 150 earthquakes

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MADRID, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The epicenter of almost 150 earthquakes in Spain's Gulf of Valencia in the last 10 days is near a recently started gas-drilling platform, officials say.

Some 20 tremors in the region were recorded Tuesday, ThinkSpain reported Wednesday.

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Of the 141 tremors in the past week and a half, the strongest was measured at magnitude 4.2 on the Richter scale, the National Geographical Institute reported.

The Castor gas-drilling platform off the coast of Castellon provinces was near the epicenter of each of the quakes, the institute said.

Since drilling began in September, nearly 300 earthquakes have been reported, most of them of low intensity.

Spain's ministry of industry ordered the site to close temporarily last Thursday so the cause of the quakes could be investigated.

Jonathan Gomez Cantero, a spokesman for the Spanish College of Geographers, said the area is "not yet under control" and recommended the region remain on alert.

The Gulf of Valencia is prone to earthquakes, he added.

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