Two Earthquakes Felt in Northern Israel Within 12 Hours

Quakes measuring 3.7 and 3.5 felt in northern Israel, police say no injuries or damage reported

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People look at a building column damaged by an earthquake in Tiberias, Sunday.
People look at a building column damaged by an earthquake in Tiberias, Sunday.Credit: Gil Eliahu

A small earthquake was felt in northern Israel on Saturday night, followed by another one around 12 hours later. The police said no damage or injuries were reported.

The first quake, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, struck late Saturday, while the other, measuring 3.5 on the scale, was felt at around noon on Sunday. 

The first earthquake's epicenter was 16 kilometers (10 miles) northwest of the town of Beit She'an, according to the Geological Survey of Israel.

Such earthquakes are expected to occur from time to time in the area, which lies on the Syrian-African rift, part of which is passes through the length of the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley.

Recently, an earthquake warning system called Tru’a has been created in Israel. The system can alert citizens of earthquakes within seconds, though it has yet to be decided from which magnitude it will be activated.

According to Yariv Hamiel of the Geological Survey of Israel, the Jordan Valley is split into two sections. The conditions deep underneath the northern section allow for constant movement of the fault. Therefore, a large portion of the energy is continuously released during this movement and not in the form of sudden seismic tremors. One of the effects of this is that high-magnitude earthquakes are rare.

In recent years, earthquakes of a magnitude of between three and four have occurred in different parts of Israel, but they did not cause destruction.

Earthquakes with a magnitude between six and seven have occurred in the past near the Dead Sea. The last seriously destructive earthquake occurred in 1927, with an epicenter in the northern Dead Sea area, resulting in hundreds of casualties and causing destruction in several cities.

The last earthquake to cause damage in Israel occurred in 1995, when a quake in Nuweiba in Egypt’s Sinai desert caused damage to buildings in Eilat.

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