Small earthquake rattles northern Israel

No reports of injuries or damage in the latest in a string of tremors felt over the past months

Illustrative: A researcher shows seismograph sensor readings from an earthquake in Mexico, on July 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Illustrative: A researcher shows seismograph sensor readings from an earthquake in Mexico, on July 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Residents of northern Israel felt a small earthquake on Sunday morning, the latest in a string of temblors to hit the area over the past few months.

The quake measured 3.7 on the Richter Scale and its epicenter was about 96 kilometers northwest of Nahariya.

According to the military’s Home Front Command, the early warning system was not activated because the earthquake did not pose a danger.

The unusual number of recent tremors felt in parts of the country has led some residents to believe a larger earthquake is on the way, with the Home Front Command holding a large national earthquake drill earlier this year.

In January, a large 6.5-magnitude quake hit off the west coast of Cyprus and was felt in nearby Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

Less than two weeks later, two small earthquakes rattled northern Israel within hours, leading to the evacuation of a school in Afula and the city hall of Beit She’an.

In early February, another quake off the coast of Cyprus was felt in Israel, in what the Cypriot geological survey department said was an aftershock of the large temblor that occurred off the east Mediterranean island the previous month.

In later February, residents of northern Israel felt two small earthquakes within a number of hours.

The first registered as 3.5 magnitude with the epicenter northeast of Beit She’an, in the Jordanian border town of Al-Shunah al-Shamalyah, the Geological Survey of Israel’s seismology division said. The second quake measured 3.2 magnitude on the Richter scale and had a similar epicenter.

There were no reports of injuries in any of the quakes, although some buildings developed cracks, prompting evacuations.

Cracks that appeared in a building in Tiberias following an earthquake on January 23, 2022, prompting an evacuation of residents. (Screenshot: Twitter)

Israel lies along the Syrian-African rift, an active fault line that runs the length of the border separating Israel and Jordan. Major earthquakes in the area happen on average once every 80 years, though the last occurred over a century ago.

Geological experts have recently warned that some one million homes in Israel are at risk of collapse in case of an earthquake.

According to estimates, a major earthquake could cause about 7,000 deaths and 145,000 injuries, with 170,000 people left homeless and 320,000 buildings damaged.

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