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Seismograph at Weston Observatory in Massachusetts detects and records earthquakes

Residents of Israel living along the country’s Mediterranean coast were rattled Wednesday by a 5.9-magnitude earthquake, the Israel Geological Survey said.

The earthquake struck the area between Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea, with its epicenter recorded some 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Lindos, in the Greek island of Rhodes.


People as far north as Haifa and as far south as Gush Dan said they felt the tremor, and residents of Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria all reported feeling the earthquake.

No damage or injuries were reported in Israel, Greece or Turkey.

Geologists in Israel have warned for years that the “big one” could hit Israel at any time, due to the country’s location on the active Syria-Africa fault line, sometimes referred to as the Great Rift Valley or the Syrian-African rift that runs from Syria and Turkey down the Jordan River Valley, through the Dead Sea to the Red Sea.

The faults in the Great Rift Valley serve as a boundary between two plates, moving towards each other: the Arabian plate that moves north relative to the Sinai-Israel plate. The boundary of these plate passes through the eastern part of Israel along the Eilat Bay area, Arava, Dead Sea, Jordan Valley, and the Galilee. The average movement rate between the plates is about 5 mm per year.

“Israel’s position on the Great Rift Valley, along with the fact that there have been a number of strong earthquakes throughout history, indicates that at any moment there may be another major earthquake in the country,” Israel’s Home Front Command warns in a statement on its website.

“In Israel, there have been many earthquakes throughout history, some of them powerful and deadly. Experience from around the world shows that wherever earthquakes have occurred in the past, earthquakes are likely to occur in the future. Therefore, another strong earthquake is expected to occur in Israel, but we cannot predict when and how powerful it will be,” Home Front Command says.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.