UAE sees up to 3 minor earthquakes every year: Expert

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on May 24, 2021

The tremors that usually strike the UAE are relatively minor.

A seismology expert says the UAE has nothing to worry after two minor earthquakes were felt in Fujairah early on Monday morning

“Earthquakes have been happening in Dibba, Massafi, Khor Fakkan city, Oman Sea opposite Fujairah city and Kalba over the past 10 years. This is because of the movement of local fault in these areas,” Khamis Elshamsi, Director of Seismology at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) told Khaleej Times on Monday.

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“The tremors that usually strike the UAE are relatively minor with a magnitude of between 2 to 5 and have no big effect. People here don’t have to worry.”

Two minor earthquakes were felt in Fujairah early Monday morning, the National Seismic Network of the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said.

A 3.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Dibba Al Fujairah at 4:54am at a depth at 5km, while the second quake measuring 2.3 on the Richer scale was felt in the same region at 7.24am, the centre reported.

Minor earthquakes are usually experienced twice or thrice a year in the northern and eastern parts of the UAE, but Elshamsi says these tremors are relatively mild and have no major effect on buildings or other structures.

“The shocks for the UAE tremors can last for only 20-30 seconds and be between 5-40km deep.”

The official explained that earthquakes are caused by a sudden slip on a fault to release pressure. “When the failure at the fault plane results in a violent displacement of the earth’s crust, the elastic strain energy is released, and seismic waves are radiated, thus causing an earthquake,” Elshamsi said.

While urging people in the UAE to remain cautious, he said they need not panic when they feel the tremors.

“Residents should stay put in open spaces inside the house, and stay away from window doors, glasses, walls and any other weak structure that may fall,” he said, adding that those travelling in vehicles should stop immediately — but away from building structures or trees.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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