Researchers predict massive earthquake to hit Israel: ‘Could be next week’

“Unfortunately, I am able say that an earthquake that will cause hundreds of casualties will hit in the coming years,” said Prof. Shmuel Marco.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

A devastating 6.5-magnitude earthquake is likely to strike Israel in the near future according to a groundbreaking study which analyzed data gathered by drilling hundreds of meters into the bottom of the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv University (TAU) announced Sunday.

“I do not want to cause alarm, but we are living in a tectonically active period. The geological record does not lie, and a major earthquake in Israel will come,” said Prof. Shmuel Marco, head of TAU’s Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

Marco said his conclusion is based on a statistical projection and there is no way to know exactly when an earthquake will occur.

“Unfortunately, I am able say that an earthquake that will cause hundreds of casualties will hit in the coming years,” he said.

“It could be in 10 years or several decades, but it could also be next week, and we must prepare for that,” said Marco.

In addition to Marco, the international research team included Dr. Yin Lu, Prof. Amotz Agnon, Dr. Nicolas Waldmann, Dr. Nadav Wetzler, and Dr. Glenn Biasi. The results of their study were published in the Science Advances journal last month.

In 2010, with the assistance of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), a rig was placed in the center of the Dead Sea and began drilling into the bottom to a depth of hundreds of meters, allowing an analysis of some 220,000 years of Dead Sea geology.

According to Marco, sediment settles onto the bottom of the Dead Sea in distinct light and dark layers every year. Earthquakes disturb these layers, swirling them together in accordance with the magnitude of the quake.

The study found that a 6.5-magnitude earthquake occurs in Israel every 130 to 150 years, but there have been cases where the gap between one earthquake and another was only a few decades.

The last earthquake of this size struck the Dead Sea Valley in 1927, killing around 250 people and injuring hundreds more in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jaffa, and Amman.

The study also found that larger 7.5-magnitude earthquakes, once thought to occur about every 10,000 years, are actually much more frequent, occurring about once every 1,300 to 1,400 years.

Researchers estimate that the last earthquake of this size struck Israel almost 1,000 years ago.