A recent study conducted at the bottom of the Dead Sea revealed that a potentially devastating earthquake measured 6.5 on the Richter Scale is expected to hit our region in the coming years.
The study, conducted by researchers from Tel Aviv University and published in the Science Advances journal, revealed that earthquakes of such magnitude tend to hit the region once every 130 to 150 years, though a smaller gap of only a few decades is also possible.
The last 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Dead Sea region in 1927 - as a result, hundreds of people were injured in Jordan’s capital of Amman, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and even in Jaffa.
According to the study - which reviewed about 220,000 years of Dead-Sea geology by drilling and studying the seabed - another such earthquake in the region is imminent and is expected to hit in the next few decades.
The research was led by the head of the Porter School of Environmental and Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University Prof. Shmuel Marco and his colleagues - Dr. Yin Lu from the Tel Aviv University, Prof. Amotz Agnon from the Institute of Earth Sciences, Dr. Nicolas Waldmann from the University of Haifa, Dr. Nadav Wetsler from the Geological Survey of Israel, and Dr. Glenn Biasi from the American Geological Survey.
"According to the latest earthquake, which is the best indicator we have, about 250 people were killed in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Amman and Jericho,” says Prof. Marco.
“So if we compare it to the number of people inhabiting these cities today, 100 years later, the population has grown by about 2-3 times. This means the number of casualties will be two to three times as much, not to mention the massive damages to infrastructure and property."
The study also showed that 7.5-magnitude tremors hit the Dead Sea every 1,300 to 1,400 years instead of every 10,000 years on average as previously believed.
Researchers estimate that the last quake of such magnitude hit our area in the year 1,033 - that is, almost a thousand years ago, meaning another such macroseism is expected to hit the region in the next few centuries.
"I do not wish to sow fear, but we are living in a tectonically active period,” said Prof. Marco.
“The geological record does not lie and a major earthquake in Israel will come. Of course, we have no way of predicting exactly when the earth will shake under our feet - this is a statistical projection… it could happen in ten years or in several decades but it can also happen next week and we must prepare for that."