‘What else? The 10 plagues?’ 4.3 quake shakes southern Israel

Geological Survey of Israel reports magnitude 4.3 quake centered in the Gulf of Eilat, no damage or injuries reported.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A small earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale was felt Sunday in the area surrounding the southern city of Eilat.

The Geological Survey of Israel said the earthquake’s epicenter was in the Gulf of Eilat some 100 km (60 miles) south of the resort port city in an area between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Israel is located in a geologically active region and sits on the Africa-Syria rift that runs up the border with Jordan through the Dead Sea, Jordan Valley and up to the Sea of Galilee. The region experiences many minor earthquakes every year.

The last serious temblor in the same area was a powerful 7.3 quake in 1995, which killed eight people in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and damaged several buildings in Eilat, where one Israeli tourist died of a heart attack.

“Storms, coronavirus and now earthquake, what else? The 10 plagues? God save us,” Eilat resident Galit Adler Malka told Ynet, referring to the upcoming Passover holiday that begins Wednesday evening and recounts the 10 plagues that preceded the biblical exodus from Egypt.

Earlier this year a magnitude 3.9 earthquake on February 6 just off the coast of northern Israel was felt in the northern city of Haifa as well as in Jerusalem.

Seismic expert Dr. Ron Avni of Ben-Gurion University said last year that severe quakes hit Israel about once a century, with the last major event on July 11, 1927 that caused massive damage and killed hundreds in the Jordan Valley. Seismology experts have warned for years that Israel is overdue for a major earthquake.

“A rough estimate is that once every 100 years, devastating quakes occur across the rift,” Avni told Ynet. “Government puts (the potential death toll) at about 7,000,” he added.

“It depends where and when it happens. If, for example, it happens when most of the population is outside, there will be a rather smaller number of fatalities.”