Quick Update on the Saudi Arabian Earthquakes

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!

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Amazing picture. How recent is it?

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.

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

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

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

By MadScientist (not verified) on 06 Jun 2009 #permalink

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.

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.

By Thomas Donlon (not verified) on 11 Jun 2009 #permalink


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.

By Thomas Donlon (not verified) on 14 Jun 2009 #permalink

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