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Monday, November 26, 2007       Free Headline Alerts

Geologist's prophecy: Holy Land overdue for a major earthquake

TEL AVIV Based on 400-year historical cycles a the pattern of recent tremors, the Middle East should be expecting a major earthquake in the near future, a geologist said.

A leading Israeli geologist has assessed that the Middle East, particularly, the Levant, was ripe for a major earthquake. The geologist based his forecast on seismological data as well as historical patterns, Middle East Newsline reported.

"All of us in the region should be worried," Shmuel Marco, a geologist at Tel Aviv University, said.

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Seismologists have often warned of the prospect of a major earthquake in the Middle East. The Levant has undergone a series of serious tremors on the magnitude of five on the Richter Scale, but without causing significant damage.

On Nov. 20, an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale shook Israel and Jordan. The earthquake, whose epicenter was in the area of the Dead Sea, did not cause major damage.

Marcos a member of Tel Aviv University's Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, has sought to predict the next major earthquake in the Levant through historical examination. The geologist has examined ancient records from the Vatican and other religious sources in his research.

The major earthquakes in the Levant took place along the Jordan Valley. Earthquakes were reported in 31 BCE, 363 CE, 749 CE and 1033 CE.

"So roughly, we are talking about an interval of every 400 years," Marcos said. "If we follow the patterns of nature, a major quake should be expected any time because almost a whole millennium has passed since the last strong earthquake of 1033."

Based on history, Marcos predicts a major earthquake that would affect Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority and Syria. He said the sites important to Christianity, Islam and Judaism could be particularly vulnerable.

"I am looking for patterns and I can say that based on ancient records, the pattern in Israel around the Dead Sea region is the most disturbing to us," Marcos said. "When it strikes and it will this quake will affect Amman, Jordan as well as Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. Earthquakes don't care about religion or political boundaries."

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