Mecca, Asharq Al-awsat- A series of earthquakes hit the holy city of Mecca throughout Monday morning without causing any damages to the Holy mosque or "Bier ZamZam" (the well of ZamZam), with more tremors were expected in the next few days.
The first quake hit the city as 2am local time and measured 3.7 on the Richter scale and was followed by a number of aftershocks which were felt by the inhabitants of the al Atiba neighborhood and the surrounding area.
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat, Dr. Mohammd Assad Tawfiq, head of the Geological Society of Saudi Arabia, revealed that yesterday’s quake was not the first to hit Mecca and warned others would strike “different areas in the city and the coastal area along the Red Sea”.
The latest tremors caused panic amongst the population who had no warnings of possible seismic activity.
Emergency services rushed to the scene to survey the damages and gather information on the size and location of the quake. Sources told Asharq al Awsat the epicenter was yet to be determined.
The quake was registered at two specialized centers in Medina and al Shabiyah.
For his part, Dr. Yehya Kawshak, advisor to the company that manages the zamzam well indicated the underground wells had not been affected. He said tremors in the area were to be expected as part of the ongoing seismic activity in the Red Sea, which is expanding, with Bab al Mandab, which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
The expert in geology at King Abdulzaziz University , Abdulaziz Radeeen, disputed the natural causes of the quake and said human activities, such as building tunnels and construction, was to blame. He added, “Over 1500 tremors hit the region of Jeddah everyday but go unnoticed.”
Throughout history, Mecca has witnessed a number of earthquakes, the most infamous damaging the Kaaba and causing the Black Stone to collapse, before the advent of Islam. More recently, in 2001, a quake hit the al Sharayeh suburb.
Officials told Asharq al Awsat the Holy Mosque which houses the Kaaba, was not affected by the quake no pilgrim was hurt.