Three small earthquakes in Israel over the past month have prompted seismologists there to warn that the region is ripe for a major quake in the very near future, AFP reported Monday.
According to the report, the Syrian-African fault line that lies below Israel and the West Bank has historically been responsible for triggering a massive quake in the area about every 80 years. Given that the last big quake hit the area on July 11, 1927, experts said a big one could be coming any day.
"We can say with certainty that an earthquake of a magnitude of six on the Richter scale could take place in the coming years," Yefim Gitterman from the seismology department at the geophysical institute of Lod, near Tel Aviv, told AFP.
"It can happen tomorrow or in years to come," he said. "Statistically, there is a major quake every 80 years."
According to the report, the Lod institute estimates that a magnitude seven earthquake striking the northern Jordan Valley or the Dead Sea would kill between 8,200 and 9,500 people, injure more than 20,000, and leave more than 20,000 homeless.