The Earth Moves as Quake Measuring 4.2 Felt Across Israel

U.S. Geological Survey says earthquake epicenter was in Mediterranean Sea, 71 km northwest of Tel Aviv.

An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter Scale was felt for several seconds across Israel on Sunday, shortly before midday.

The U.S. Geological Survey placed the epicenter of the tremblor in the Mediterranean Sea, 71 km northwest of Tel Aviv and 80 km west-southwest of Haifa.

Earthquake - Alon Ron
Alon Ron

The quake was primarily felt in the Lower Galilee, the Haifa bay, Ra’anana, Petah Tikva and other parts of the coastal plain.

“We felt the whole tower move,” A staffer on the 27th floor of a University of Haifa building told Haaretz.

An earthquake measuring 4.2 is considered a "light" earthquake, which is unlikely to result in any serious damage. There are reportedly more than 6,000 of these earthquakes every year. 

Israel was last hit by an earthquake in April, when a tremblor measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale was felt across the country, primarily along the coastal plain. The epicenter of that quake was just off the Isle of Crete.

Israel sits on the sensitive Syrian-African fault line, and experts have been warning for the last few years that the country should expect a major quake in the near future. 

"We can say with certainty that an earthquake of a magnitude of six on the Richter scale could take place in the coming years," Yefim Gitterman from the seismology department at the Geophysical Institute of Israel told AFP in 2007. "Statistically, there is a major quake every 80 years."

The last major earthquake in the region was in July 1927, when 300 people were killed in Jerusalem and Jericho. Prior to that, a quake measuring seven on the Richter Scale killed around 4,000 people in 1837.