An earthquake was felt under the eastern Mediterranean near Crete on Tuesday morning in parts of central Israel and the coastal region.
The US Geological Survey said the quake measured 6 on the Richter scale and had a depth of 37 km. The Israel Geological Survey said it measured the quake with a magnitude of 5.8.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
No tsunami warning was issued in the immediate aftermath of the quake.
Residents of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, Givatayim, and Holon all reported feeling the earthquake. Reuters reported that residents also felt it in parts of Egypt and Lebanon.
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Minor earthquakes have rocked Israel in recent years as concerns grow about the country’s level of preparedness for a larger earthquake.
People remove debris from a destroyed building after an earthquake hit Mexico City on September 19, 2017, moments after an earthquake drill was held in the capital. (AFP photo/Alfredo Estrella)
In 2019, an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale was felt in Israel, causing no casualties or damage. In 2018, more than a dozen small but noticeable earthquakes shook northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee. At least four scales above 4 on the Richter scale, with some feeling as remote as Jerusalem. A similar swarm occurred in 2013.
Israel lies along the Syrian-African Fault, a crack in the Earth’s crust that runs along the border between Israel and Jordan. It is part of the Great Rift Valley that extends from northern Syria to Mozambique.
The last major earthquake to hit the region was in 1927 – a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that killed 500 people and injured 700 more.
Northern Israel and the areas around Jerusalem and the Dead Sea are at risk of an earthquake with a magnitude of 5 to 5.9 on the Richter scale, according to the World Health Organization, with the central and southern coastal regions and the Negev desert exposed to a moderate earthquake risk. In the range 4 to 4.9.
Experts have warned that a major earthquake may strike Israel in the near future, and the government has started funding projects for buildings that will be reinforced against earthquakes.
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