One or two ‘felt’ quakes occur annually

By Mohammed al Subhi — MUSCAT, April 8 – The Sultanate has not witnessed any earthquakes in previous year till the present, while two earthquakes were reported in the Wilayat of Al Amerat in 2015, according to the Earthquake Monitoring Centre at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). “Normally, one or two felt earthquakes on average are registered annually in the Sultanate,” said Issa al Hussain, Director, Earthquake Monitoring Centre at SQU. He said that since its foundation in 2001, the centre has monitored more than 51 earthquakes that were felt by people mostly in the northern parts of the Sultanate, particularly the Governorate of Musandam. The centre registers around 1,500 to 2,000 earthquakes most of them are unfelt, including 300 regional and local earthquakes.

The largest earthquake in magnitude ever detected by the monitoring stations in the Sultanate occurred near Mad’ha in Musandam Governorate on March 11, 2002, and measured 3.5 on the Richter Scale. The most powerful earthquake to affect the Sultanate occurred in Iran on April 16, 2013, and it was widely felt across the northern governorates of the Sultanate, Al Hussain said. The Sultanate has 21 earthquake monitoring stations, and all are overseen by the Earthquake Monitoring Centre at SQU, Al Hussain, said. He added that thanks to its location in an area of low seismicity as well as the presence of mountains prevent the Sultanate from powerful and destructive earthquakes.