Richter Scale, earthquake quake hand graph 311 (R).
(photo credit: Pichi Chuang / Reuters)
A small earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale struck Sunday in the Mediterranean Sea, and was felt for several seconds in various parts of the country. The epicenter was approximately 40 km. west of Binyamina, according to the Geophysical Institute of Israel.
There were no reports of injuries or damages, according to Magen David Adom in the Carmel subdistrict.
The institute received reports from people who felt the quake in Haifa, Afula, Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Kibbutz Nativ.
Israel is moderately prone to earthquakes because it sits on the Syrian-African fault line, and historically has suffered a destructive earthquake every 80 to 120 years, according to Dr. Ron Avni, a lecturer at Ben- Gurion University. The last major earthquake hit in 1927, and many experts have been a predicting another one soon.
But Dr. Avi Shapira, chairman of the National Steering Committee for Earthquake Preparedness, said Sunday’s tremor was unique because it occurred away from the rift valley formed by the discontinuities in the faults. Earthquakes infrequently occur in the Mediterranean Sea because there are no geological features that produce quakes in the ocean, and tremors generally occur about once every 10 years in the sea, he said.
A stronger earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale was felt across the country in April, primarily along the coastal plain.
Sunday’s earthquake comes a month after the National Economic Council chair Professor Eugene Kandel said that Israel is not financially ready to cope with the aftermath of a large earthquake, Army Radio reported.
“I don’t recommend to anyone to rely on the government in such a scenario,” Kandel said.
In March, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss also warned that the government has done little to prepare the country’s buildings and infrastructures for an earthquake of significant magnitude in a report presented to the Knesset State Control Committee.
Despite the criticism, Shapira said that Israel has “a good building code to better build our buildings to withstand earthquakes.”
But the country must continue to invest in projects to ensure that existing hospitals, schools and other buildings meet the standards, he said, adding that he is working with the National Economic Council to identify resources and protocols to ensure that “if and when an earthquake hits, the country will be able to rehabilitate itself.”