UAE: Why some residents feel earthquake tremors more intensely than others

Several residents were woken out of their sleep over the weekend after multiple earthquakes hit Iran


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 4 Jul 2022, 5:50 PM

Last updated: Tue 5 Jul 2022, 8:37 AM

There are multiple factors when it comes to some UAE residents feeling tremors more intensely than others, such as whether they live in a villa or a skyscraper and on what floor, said a senior official.

The UAE residents have reported multiple tremors over the last few weeks due to a string of earthquakes in Iran. None of them was cause of concern but several residents gathered in open areas near their homes while others were woken out of their sleep by tremors and witnessed the furniture and chandeliers shaking.

According to the NCM, as many as earthquakes hit southern Iran on Saturday, ranging from a magnitude of 4.2 to 6.3 on the Richter scale. People reported aftershocks as well after the earthquake.

In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Khalifa Alebri, Head of the Tsunami Early Warning Centre at the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), said the UAE residents should not worry about earthquakes because buildings in the country apply global seismic codes.

He said people living on the first and second floor and those on the 10th floor or above would feel different intensity.

“People who are walking, jogging or doing some sports activity may not feel tremors. But people who are sitting on a chair or lying on a bed will feel more intensity. Another factor is whether an earthquake is happening in the morning or at night. Because morning is not as quiet as night, therefore, people could feel more intensity at night,” he said.

In addition, the distance between the centre of the earthquake and the location where people live is also a major factor when it comes to feeling the intensity.

Why do aftershocks happen?

Khalifa Alebri noted that aftershocks normally happen after a moderate or strong earthquake when the remaining energy is released from the ground after the first tremors.

“Earthquakes which are usually more than 6.0 on Richter scale may generate aftershocks for a few days, weeks or months also, depending on the area. We should not worry about aftershocks because most of the energy is already released in the first major earthquake. Therefore, aftershocks are mostly less intense,” he added.

The head of the Tsunami Early Warning Centre at the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) stated that it is difficult to predict how long the tremors can last because it depends on the release of the energy.


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