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'4-magnitude earthquake recorded in Wadi Araba, no damages'

By Laila Azzeh - Feb 07,2016 - Last updated at Feb 07,2016

AMMAN — An earthquake with the magnitude of 4 on the Richter scale hit the Wadi Araba area at a depth of 11km at around 2:35pm on Sunday, according to the Jordan Seismological Observatory (JSO).

No casualties or physical damage were reported, but residents of Wadi Araba, particularly the Risheh area, felt the earthquake, the JSO said.

"A seismic activity with such a magnitude is only felt by people but poses no threat," JSO President Mahmoud Qariouti told The Jordan Times, adding that the earthquake area is 25km north of Aqaba and 62km west of Maan.

Although he noted that it is difficult to ascertain if the earthquake will cause aftershocks, Qariouti said seismic activity is "normal" in the area and residents are "used to it".

Jordan lies along the seismically active Dead Sea Transform Fault, with estimates predicting a major earthquake every 100 years.

Seismic activity is normal in the Jordan Rift Valley area, which extends from northern Jordan down to the Dead Sea and is part of the Great Rift Valley that stretches from the Taurus Mountains of Turkey down to the Zambezi Valley in southern Africa.

In earlier remarks, the JSO said earthquake observatories around the world do not predict the timing of quakes, but conduct extensive examinations on their activity and frequency, which help countries impose sound building codes and be prepared when earthquakes hit. 

In August last year, an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale was registered in the port city of Aqaba, 330km south of the capital, at around 5:15am, but no damages or casualties were recorded. 

The same month saw a 4.3-magnitude earthquake at the Dead Sea at a depth of 10km, felt by residents of Amman, Karak, Zarqa and Madaba, but again causing no casualties or damages, the JSO said at the time.

In June, an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale was registered in the port city, centred at a depth of 10 kilometres.

According to the JSO records, the last destructive earthquake to hit the Kingdom was in 1927.

About 300 people were killed in that quake, which hit Jerusalem and nearby Jericho.

 

A similar quake in 1837, measuring 7 on the Richter scale and with an epicentre in the Hula Valley devastated the town of Safad and killed some 4,000 people. 

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