Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale shook the city of Haradh in Eastern Saudi Arabia, Wednesday. The earthquake struck at 3.30pm local time. This time last year, an earthquake of similar magnitude was recorded in the same region. The national network of seismic monitoring in the Saudi Geological Survey, the official legal authority that monitors earthquakes in the kingdom recorded the earthquake and its activity.
Hani Zahran, an engineer and the director of the National Center for Earthquakes of the Geological Survey told Asharq Al Awsat that “residents in the region of Haradh felt the tremor, however, there were no human or material damages incurred.”
“The earthquake monitoring stations that are deployed in Saudi Arabia record earthquakes of varying degrees and in locations of seismic activity, however, the majority of these earthquakes have not been felt by residents.” He added.
Geologists told Asharq Al Awsat that the cause of frequent earthquakes in recent years in the Arabian Peninsula is attributed to the fact that the region is located near active seismic borders on both the north-eastern and western borders. They stated that the Arab plate which includes the GCC states, Yemen and parts of Iran and Greater Syria collides with the Iranian plate (the Zagros Mountains) and the Turkish plate (the mountains of Anatolia). In turn, this causes the movement of the Arab plate by two centimetres annually causing an expansion to the Red Sea area and causing friction between the two plates in the eastern region of the Arab plate.
In September 2005, an earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale shook Mecca and caused panic amongst the citizens of Otaibah, a neighbourhood situated near the Holy Mosque. Official statements regarding the intensity of the tremor contradicted each other and this led to a decision by the Saudi cabinet to assign the responsibility of monitoring seismic activity to the Saudi Geological Survey, which is to include all centres affiliated to King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, King Abdul Aziz University, King Saud University and King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals under the umbrella of the Geological Survey.