Second earthquake in 24 hours felt in northern Israel

The epicenters of both quakes were located slightly south of the Kinneret.

Beit She'an (photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Beit She'an
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)

An earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale was recorded by the Geological Survey of Israel (GSI) in northern Israel on Sunday, less than 24 hours after an earthquake measuring 3.8 shook the area on Saturday. A magnitude 2.9 tremor was also recorded by the GSI on Saturday.

The Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) recorded the Saturday quake as a magnitude 4.1 and the Sunday quake as a magnitude 3.9.

The epicenters of both quakes were located slightly south of the Kinneret.

According to residents’ reports, the second earthquake was felt in Tiberias, Kiryat Shmona, Beit She’an and Haifa.

Earthquakes measuring from 3 to 3.9 on the Richter scale are considered minor, and while they can be felt by many people, they do not usually cause damage. An earthquake from 4 to 4.9 on the scale can be felt by all people in the area and can cause minor damage.

A RECENT view of the Jordan Valley – no longer an area of strategic significance. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)A RECENT view of the Jordan Valley – no longer an area of strategic significance. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Testimonies from local residents to the EMSC related that they felt strong shaking during the first quake on Saturday. A resident of Tiberias wrote, “The entire reinforced room shook, including the refrigerator inside it. The shaking went through my entire body for about seven seconds.”

“The entire house shook,” one resident of Kibbutz Ashdot Ya’acov wrote to the EMSC. “We felt like a ship on waves. We ran outside. It lasted for about five to ten seconds.” Ashdot Ya’acov is located about two kilometers from the epicenter, according to the EMSC.

“My computer desk is moving,” a resident of Kibbutz Ashdot Ya’acov said in testimony to the EMSC about the second quake on Sunday. “It’s relatively weak compared to the quake yesterday.”

The quake was also felt in parts of Jordan, as noted by testimony given to the EMSC.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake on Saturday was felt as a IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale [written in Roman numerals] in parts of northern Israel. A IV is considered a light earthquake [less than 4 on the Richter scale] and is felt indoors by many and outdoors by few. Dishes, windows and doors can be disturbed and walls can make a cracking sound. The USGS compares the sensation to a “heavy truck striking the building.”

Following the earthquake on Sunday, Acre Mayor Shimon Lankri said, “The earthquakes are here and even if we ignore them, the statistics prove that they will come as a surprise in the coming years.

“What will not come as a surprise is next year’s budget for the resilience centers, a budget that will allow us to cope in the event of such a significant event,” added Lankri. “I hope that the earthquake [which in the meantime was a small warning light] will prompt decision-makers to budget the resilience centers on a fixed budget for years to come. Because there are things we have no control over like earthquakes but there are things we have excellent control over like resource control and emergency preparedness.”

In light of the tremors, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai held a conference call with the Israel Police General Command staff regarding the police’s preparedness for an earthquake.

Shabtai directed the entire police force to refresh civil emergency directives and to prepare for any scenario. Additionally, the responsibilities of the police were sharpened in respect to the other emergency and rescue bodies in the country, including the Home Front Command.

“Despite the need for our constant preparedness for an earthquake event, recent events are a signal to everyone to check now and make sure we are prepared for any scenario in all divisions and all departments,” said Shabtai.

According to the Jordanian state news agency Petra, as many as 10 aftershocks were felt in Jordan. However, no damage was reported.

Just two weeks earlier, another earthquake of magnitude 6.6 was recorded off the coast of Cyprus, according to the EMSC. That earthquake was felt in parts of Israel, as well as in other locations across the region.