Two earthquakes in one day shake northern Israel

Head of Geophysical Institute: Still no explanation for tremblors; no reports of injuries or damage.

October 20, 2013 16:24
2 minute read.
Richter Scale [file photo]

Richter Scale, earthquake quake hand graph 311 (R). (photo credit: Pichi Chuang / Reuters)


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A string of minor earthquakes have rattled the North over the past few days – including two on Sunday – though none have caused any injuries or significant damages.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.6 on the Richter scale hit the Hula Valley-Kinneret region Sunday morning at around 11:50 a.m., with its epicenter in the northwestern portion of the Kinneret – a few kilometers northeast of Kibbutz Ginossar and a few kilometers south of Capernaum, according to data from the Israel Geophysical Institute’s Seismology Division. Just four hours later, at 3:54 p.m., another quake with a 3.5 magnitude shook the region.

These were the third and fourth such tremors in the past four days large enough for Israelis to feel. At about 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, a magnitude 3.0 tremor also shook the area, as did a 3.5 magnitude quake at 9:18 p.m. on Thursday.

“They are on the same location more or less, so we assume they are acting on the same fault plane in the subsurface,” Dr. Uri Frieslander, general manager of the Israel Geophysical Institute, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday afternoon.

“We cannot say that this event will yield something in the future. We are watching carefully the results of the seismological map.”

The past few days also featured a series of tremors that were too small to be felt in approximately the same region: 2.1-magnitude and 2.3-magnitude tremors at 12:09 p.m. and 8:39 a.m. respectively on Sunday, as well as a 2.0 rattle on Friday morning at 7:38 a.m. and a 2.6 event on Thursday at 5:02 a.m.

Frieslander stressed that he is “not worried” about the string of quakes, because in the past Israel has experienced many events like this over a period of a few weeks or months.

Prior to this weekend’s series of quakes, Israel experienced a tremor in the Dead Sea region that hit 3.5 on the Richter scale on September 12. On October 12, the Greek island of Crete saw a much stronger earthquake of 6.4 in magnitude, but this quake had absolutely no connection to those that have occurred in Israel, Frieslander noted.

Unfortunately, he explained, there is no way for scientists to forecast an earthquake’s future occurrence, so it is unclear when Israel will experience its next truly significant tremor.

The last such quake, of 6.2 magnitude, occurred here in 1927 and killed a total of 550 people on both sides of the Jordan River, Frieslander said.

Considering that statistically speaking, the next great Israeli quake is slated to take place in the not-so-distant future, Frieslander reminded people “to obey the laws and build buildings as [required] by the law.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday evening with Dr. Avi Shapiro, the chairman of the Interministerial Steering Committee for Earthquake Preparedness, ahead of a situation assessment that would take place that evening. Netanyahu instructed Shapiro to keep him updated as to whether steps would be necessary toward increasing preparedness in light of the recent earthquakes, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

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