Mini-Earthquake Sets Off Predictions of a Larger One

5 Cheshvan 5768, 17 October 07 01:29
By: Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) The Patzael region in the central Jordan Valley, just 20 kilometers north of Jericho, was touched by a small earthquake on Saturday night, registering 3.0 on the Richter scale.  A similar quake occurred in the same area two months ago.

On Sunday morning, researchers at Tel Aviv University presented a new study on the timeline of earthquakes throughout history.  No precise future earthquake dates can be extrapolated from the data, but the researchers say one is on the way - as no major quake has hit the danger area between the Dead Sea and the Kinneret in centuries.

"It's like the first winter rain," said Dr. Shmuel Marko, who took part in the study. "The longer the dry summer lasts, the closer the first rain is.  Here, as well: The quiet is worrisome.  The longer we go without a large quake, the more we can expect one."

On the other hand, experts have said that Israel's earthquakes are in general less frequent than those in other quake-prone regions such as California, Japan and Turkey. 

Israel is located along the Syria-Africa rift, a friction point between two subterranean plates and is therefore considered earthquake-prone.   

In 1927, some 250 people were killed in an earthquake that hit Jericho and central Israel.  In November 1995, a 6.2 quake caused injuries to several people in Eilat. A minor quake, 5.0 on the Richter scale, hit Israel in February 2004, shaking buildings in many cities and even causing damage to the Knesset building.  No one was reported hurt. 

The northern city of Tzfat was hit by two earthquakes in recent centuries, in 1759 and in 1837.  The latter one killed at least 2,000 people, when residents were buried under the ruins of their homes and help did not arrive for days.