Earthquakes Rattle Jordan and Israel; Israelis Prepare for Larger Quake
Residents of Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria have been shaken, quite literally, during the past week by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks beginning in Jordan on Wednesday, July 4, and most recently experienced in Israel on Monday, July 9. Seismic activities are not abnormal for the area, occurring primarily in the Great Rift Valley, which extends from northern Syria to Mozambique. The area lies on the Dead Sea Transform fault system, a boundary that separates two major plate systems.
On Wednesday and Thursday, a total of 11 earthquakes measuring up to 4.7 on the Richter scale were confirmed by the Jordan Seismological Observatory (JSO) to have struck Lake Tiberias in the northern part of the country over a period of eight hours.
Over the weekend and into Monday, four minor earthquakes measuring between 3.1 and 3.3 on the Richter scale were felt in northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee, which has since been rattled by more than 40 tremors.
The smaller quakes could be a sign of something larger, experts warn. While it’s been nearly a century since a major earthquake has hit the region (a 6.2 magnitude in 1927), a 2004 inter-ministerial committee report estimated the potential for catastrophic loss of life and severe damage to infrastructure if the area were to experience a 7.5 magnitude or higher.
In response, the Israeli government has extended readiness funding for urgent projects to reinforce public buildings.
Should you find yourself experiencing an earthquake, officials advise to drop, cover and hold on. Keep in mind that doorways cannot be relied on for protection; it is better to shield yourself under a sturdy piece of furniture. Turn off Main electric and Gas switches. If you are in your vehicle, stop and stay inside.