Tuesday’s earthquake in northern Morocco has shaken up the Middle East yet again. Not two weeks have passed since the populations surrounding the Dead Sea were shaken up by a quake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, the earth in the port city Al-Haciema moved, killing perhaps as many as 550 people.
Dr. Belazougui, an expert on earthquake engineering from the National Earthquake Engineering Center in Algeria’s capital, Algiers, said he believes the proximity between the two earthquakes is no coincidence.
The borders of several tectonic plates converge in the Middle Eastern and North African region. Although there is constant seismic activity under the ground, which mostly goes unnoticed by the inhabitants, increasing pressure sometimes causes confrontation on these borders and the plates tend to collapse.
The quake in the Dead Sea, Belazougui said, occurred along the border of the Arabian African tectonic plate, and Tuesday’s quake was along the African and Asian plates. The first event was likely to have an impact on the latter.
Although the Morocco quake, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale, was reportedly experienced in Algeria and Spain, Belazougui said it was not felt at his institute.
Asked if Tuesday’s quake portends a similar, and perhaps more severe quake in the Middle East region, Belazougui was skeptical. Earthquakes are more frequent in North Africa than in the Middle East, he said, since the latter is less prone to seismic activity.
Belazougui said links exist between Algeria and Morocco to contend with issues pertaining to seismic activity in the neighboring countries.