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The history of earthquakes in the Land of Israel

The last one was in 1927 and severely damaged Safed, Ramla, Lod and Nablus.

The ruins of Beit Shan, as a result of the earthquake in 749 AD. Photo: shutterstock
The ruins of Beit Shan, as a result of the earthquake in 749 AD. Photo: shutterstock

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The earthquake we experienced yesterday was just a small reminder that the State of Israel sits in an area prone to disasters: the Syrian-African fault * The seismographs show that every year 75 minor earthquakes occur here that are not felt * But once every century a truly destructive earthquake occurs * The last one was in 1927 and hit Severe in Safed, Ramla, Lod and Nablus * Before this was the severe earthquake in 1837 that completely destroyed Safed * Is this a sign of it happening again?

People are buried under the rubble, historic buildings collapse under them, entire cities are destroyed and the surface changes. These plays, which are familiar to us from photographs from Turkey, Japan and San Francisco, may become very realistic for us and very soon. In fact, the question is no longer if an earthquake of such magnitude will occur in Israel, but when it will occur. Yesterday we got a very slight reminder of what might happen here. Once every century, a significant earthquake hits the part where the State of Israel is located, in the Syrian-African rift zone. The previous earthquake of such intensity in our region was at the beginning of the last century, in 1927, and it caused severe damage to Safed, Nablus, Ramla and Lod. According to the calculation, the centenary celebrations of that earthquake are approaching, and with it the likelihood of a powerful earthquake, only this time the cities are denser, the buildings are taller, and the factories that produce flammable, toxic and dangerous substances are more numerous.
In recent years, since the establishment of the seismographic stations in our area, we have a record of the hundreds of small noises that plague us, which we do not feel. In total, about 75 minor earthquakes are felt in the country with one intensity or another every year.
But throughout history, the region was plagued by earthquakes that did not need any seismograph to testify to their existence. They left behind chilling historical and archaeological evidence. References to these earthquakes can also be found in the Bible, but the estimates go much further back and talk about 5 million years of strong and frequent earthquakes, which changed in the past, and are currently changing, the surface of Israel. Among the main victims are Jerusalem, Safed, Ramla, Lod and Tiberias - all of them were severely damaged or even destroyed, approximately once every century, and thousands of people were killed in them.

Sodom and Beth-shan were destroyed
Several references in the Bible describe shaking earth, destroyed cities, fire and stones, and it can be assumed that these are earthquakes. One of the most prominent of them is the one mentioned in the book of Genesis that destroyed the city of Sodom, which probably happened in the 22nd century BC. In the eighth century BC, about two hundred years before the destruction of the First Temple, a loud noise occurred in Judah, and it is described in both the book of Amos and the book of Zechariah as something that caused a rupture in the earth. During the Second Temple period, in 31 BC, a very strong earthquake hit the area, the epicenter of which was probably near Jericho. Dr. Akiva Flechster from the Department of Geophysics at Tel Aviv University explains that the evidence for this earthquake is the stairwells in the Qumran caves that broke and fell in a certain direction, like in an earthquake.
"The event took place in the seventh year of Herod's reign," says Flechster, "the historian Josephus Flavius ​​tells about 30 thousand victims. Herod's army camped on the coast escaped harm but was afraid to advance. Herod convinced his soldiers that an earthquake is not a sign of danger but a natural disaster caused by fixed laws. The army did indeed cross the Jordan in the end and won a crushing victory in Philadelphia, which is Rabbi Ammon."
During the Roman occupation and Byzantine rule in the Land of Israel, in the second to seventh centuries AD, several earthquakes occurred in the region, some of which brought with them huge tsunami waves that hit Caesarea. Cities and towns were wiped out, damage was also recorded in Jerusalem. The large earthquakes were later accompanied by chains of smaller earthquakes that only worsened the damage.
In the eighth century AD, during the Muslim occupation of the Land of Israel, a severe earthquake struck the region, claiming tens of thousands of victims. The cities of Beit-Shan and Susita were completely destroyed. Tiberias was severely damaged, and the natural baths in the ancient city of Gedera, about ten kilometers southeast of the Sea of ​​Galilee, were also destroyed.
In the 11th century AD, the region was hit by a series of earthquakes one after the other. It began in 1033, with their center in the Jordan Valley, and continued for 40 days. Some of the earthquakes were so strong that they were felt from Syria to Egypt. Much damage and loss of life were recorded in the port city of Ptolemys (today Acre). Reports indicate that the harbor simply emptied of water for an hour, until it was washed away in one moment by a devastating tsunami wave. The wall in Jerusalem was also damaged by the noise, Jericho was destroyed, Ramla was destroyed, and heavy damage was caused to buildings in Tiberias.

Thousands of dead
On March 18, 1068, Israel was struck by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale. Its center was in the Mediterranean Sea, near the coast. Ramla was almost destroyed. About 15 dead were reported at the time, but the report was apparently exaggerated. "The evidence we have left from some of the earthquakes comes from people trying to raise donations for reconstruction," says Prof. Yossi Mart from the Institute of Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa. "That's why we treat these descriptions with a certain reservation. We know that the incident did happen, but apparently the descriptions are a little exaggerated." In 1201 a strong earthquake occurred again, with a magnitude of 6.6. Its center was in the Jordan Valley and it destroyed the city of Nablus and claimed thousands of victims. Tsunami waves again hit Acre and the coastal cities, and Safed was also badly hit.
On January 14, 1546, another noise of such intensity hit the area. Its center was once again in the Jordan Valley and it caused great destruction. The Jordan River stopped flowing for two whole days, the tsunami waves returned to hit the coastal cities from Acre to Gaza, and the giant waves also returned to the Dead Sea.
On October 0, 3, another earthquake with a magnitude of 1759, centered in the Jordan Valley, killed tens of thousands. Safed is destroyed again. Nazareth and Tiberias are also affected. This time the tsunami waves reach the Kinneret, while those that hit Acre after every earthquake cover the streets of the city with water two meters deep, and throw ships and ships deep into the shore.

the miracle of 95'
On January 1, 1837, one of the deadliest earthquakes occurred. About 28 percent of the residents of Tiberias were killed in this noise, some from the impact of huge tsunami waves that came up from the Sea of ​​Galilee. Safed was completely destroyed, and apparently the heavy damage caused to it was a result of the problematic soil in the area which led to huge landslides. Evidence from the severe earthquake describes the enormous destruction: "The entire surface of the ground, in the upper area and in the area surrounding the hill, was damaged by the shock. Huge amounts of rocks were simply ripped from the ground and blown away. Huge fissures crossed the ground and then filled with earth and stones. . . Near Safed we saw cracks in the rock and in the ground. . . And next to Gush-Halav there is another fissure several meters long."
On July 11, 1927, the last severe earthquake occurred in the area. The flow of the Jordan was stopped for almost a whole day as a result of the landslides. Even then, buildings fell like card towers and buried their occupants under them. The earthquake claimed hundreds of victims on both sides of the Jordan. Ramla, Lod, Tiberias and Nablus were badly hit.
This was the last earthquake with a magnitude of 6.25 - the strongest measured here in the last century. "Actually, since the establishment of the state, there has not been an earthquake whose intensity within the state was over 6", explains Prof. Moshe Inbar from the Department of Geography at the University of Haifa. "The earthquake of 27' was the strongest and most destructive in our region in recent times."
In November 95, an earthquake occurred again that was felt throughout the country, but its center was in the heart of the Gulf of Eilat - far enough away to prevent major damage. At 6:15 in the morning, the residents of the state woke up to their walls swaying. The noise intensity was estimated at about 6.2. On the same day, another 1,500 minor tremors were recorded - the "aftershock" of the main tremor. Several hotels in the city were damaged by the noise, and one tourist, 67 years old, who was in the city as part of a retirement trip with his wife and tried to take her down the stairs with his own hands after the earthquake, had a heart attack and died.
According to Prof. Mert, "It was a huge earthquake, but it hit an uninhabited area, so the number of victims and the amount of damage were small."

7 תגובות

  1. Hello to all real estate investors, your investment will go to waste very soon. Then everyone will be equal
    Punishment for pursuing greed and very expensive rental prices and especially expensive house prices.

  2. There is no doubt that after there is an earthquake here, the holy rabbis will not miss an opportunity to blame the "hacking life" of the Zionist state they are milking.

  3. Earthquakes are the cycles of nature.
    As in any other field, the cycle is the key to innovation and growth.
    So maybe a reformed country will arise here after an earthquake?
    Haha, like people said we will be better after the corona...

  4. It was measured after the invention of the scale according to seismograms that recorded the tremor at various stations around the world. The seismograph was invented in 1900 and since then there have been measurements of earthquakes.

  5. On 27/7/18
    Two weeks from today.

    The earthquake that everyone feared will occur

    The hours it will break: between 15:00 and 23:00

  6. I know this article is from 2014 but it has become somewhat relevant today.

    In any case, how was the Richter Scale measured during those times if it was invented in 1935?

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