One brief note before I head out the door …

Fissures formed in western Saudi Arabia during the earthquake swarm near Harrat Lunayyir during May and June 2009. Image courtesy of Ahmed Al-Hussaini.

The earthquakes in the Harrat Lunayyir region of western Saudi Arabia seem to be like a character out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail: they’re just not dead yet. Two more earthquakes, these in the M3 range at 8-9 km depth, hit Thursday morning, further delaying the return of evacuees to the Al-Ais region. This bring the total earthquakes to over 150 since seismicity began a few weeks ago. Eruptions reader Albalawi found a daily update site from the Saudi Geological Survey on the earthquakes. The updates appear to only be in Arabic (unlike the main site that is also in English), but he did provide a link that works through Google Translate. The SGS latest report says that no new volcanic gases or radon have been detected, ground temperatures are unchanged and none of the fissures have expanded.

And with that, I’m off to Boston!


  1. #1 jagman09
    June 4, 2009

    Amazing picture. How recent is it?

  2. #2 George
    June 5, 2009

    That doesn’t really look like a “fissure” to me so much as a crater from some kind of phreatic explosion. The debris scattered around the openings would tend to reinforce that conclusion in my mind. Lighter material (sand, dust, etc) would likely have blown away in the wind but the rocks appear to remain.

  3. #3 ALBLAWI
    June 5, 2009

    hi ERIK
    I think the google translator doesn’t give a correct translation because you say “This bring the total earthquakes to over 150 since seismicity began a few weeks ago” this is not wright, they mean just during 24 hours (from 12 o’clock on last Wednesday to 12 o’clock on last Thursday).

    extra information

    the whole number of earthquackes has happened over a few weeks ago is approximately twenty four thousands and this doesn’t involve last earthquackes.
    this link confirms that information and describe the whole situation and involve some images for faults.

    yahya albalawi

    I’m sorry for my English

  4. #4 George
    June 6, 2009

    The pictures linked by Yahya certainly do look like fissures that could be caused by uplift to me.

  5. #5 MadScientist
    June 7, 2009

    Thanks, Yahya, for giving us non-Arabic reading people an update.

  6. #6 Gazz
    June 9, 2009

    Has somebody a photo about Hala’l Bedr?
    That volcano lies close to this scene and I can’t find any photo of that but satellite images.

  7. #7 Thomas Donlon
    June 11, 2009

    From Saudi news website.
    The number of earthquakes continues to decline

    Saudi officials believe once tremors remain consistently low for a couple of days that the 21,000 evacuees will be allowed to return home.

    A personal reflection: Trying to get insight into future volcanic eruptions has helped develop my patience and humility. Just when I think a volcano is going to do or not do something – volcanoes have done something different.

    I think it was Boris Behnke that said something about the next volcano that erupts is going to be the one that you are not watching.

    (I think all potentially active volcanoes should be watched.)
    Oh well, it is still fascinating.

  8. #8 Thomas Donlon
    June 14, 2009

    Government officials who have jobs in the area are told to report to work.
    Because of concerns about possible earthquake damage, houses are being inspected to make sure they are still strong. Residents will be allowed to return soon if earthquakes don’t return.

    Reading all these posts here mentioning cracks and sills – and now that earthquakes subsided after a moderately large earthquake leads me to wonder if the increasing magmatic pressure diminished at the time of the earthquake because the magma went into a sill? Now, the magmatic pressure is low and we won’t see more activity until more magma comes up and sufficiently repressurizes the system? And of course, I have no idea when that might be. If the sill cools and hardens quickly would it make it difficult for more magma to later be injected into the same sill? Is there such a thing as a typical sill? At what point will scientists know how much uplift if any has occurred?

    I realize we probably don’t have answers to these questions.

  9. #9 mafia 2 crack
    October 17, 2010

    Ok now this is kinda not only weird, but still plenty of weirdness after of reasons for it.

  10. #10 motel townsville
    October 20, 2010

    Abundantly handled and preparing for tradition

  11. #11 Eugene Moore
    November 27, 2010

    Great article, thank you! I really like it!

  12. #12 Sherley Loewenstein
    December 9, 2010

    The closing paragraph tells it all in my opinion. I must say that I agree with it, and essentially the most fantastic thing about it is that you left it open ended…this shows that you are prepared to draw in new and totally different opinions and that you are ultimately very interested to see folks getting concerned within the subject. So, any alternative opinions?

  13. #13 Evangeline
    December 13, 2010

    I am not very excellent with English but I find this rattling easygoing to translate.

  14. #14 Complex Sleep Apnea
    December 13, 2010

    Well, I do not know if that’s going to work for me, but definitely worked for you! 🙂 Excellent post!

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