image Photo: Geological Survey of Israel

Cyprus earthquake felt in Israel

An earthquake rattled Cyprus at 1427 GMT on Thursday 13 at a latitude of 34.891 N and longitude of 33.779 E.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) estimated the quake at a magnitude of 5.3 (M5.3), at a relatively shallow depth of 60 km (about 37 mi) beneath the epicenter.  The National Observatory of Athens (NOA) listed the quake at M5.1, while the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) registered it at M5.2.

The earthquake is considered to have been “moderate,” as it occurred between 5 and 6 magnitude. “Micro” are listed at <1.0 – 2.0, “Minor” at 2.0 – 4.0, “Light 4.0-5.0, “Strong” 6.0 – 7.0, “Serious” from 7.0 – 8.0 and capable of major destruction, with “Great” at 8.0 – >9.0, with damage expected to span hundreds of kilometers.

Preliminary seismic data indicated that there was no significant damage from yesterday’s quake in Cyprus, other than broken windows or fallen objects.

Light shaking was reported in the towns of Xylotymvou (population of 3,600) about 5 km from the epicenter, Oroklini (pop. 3,400) 9 km away, Pergamos (pop. 15,000) 9 km away, Xylofagou (pop. 6,000) 9 km away, Avgorou (pop. 4,200) 11 km away, Larnaca (pop. 72,000) 13 km away, Famagusta (pop. 42,500) 25 km away, and Protaras (pop. 20,200) 28 km away.

Weak shaking was also reported as far away as Lemesos (pop. 154,000) 72 km, as well as Nicosia (pop. 200,500) located 42 km from the epicenter. Some residents of high-rise buildings in the capital were forced to evacuate their homes, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

Cypriot Members of Parliament also briefly evacuated the building when the quake shook the plenum during annual debate on the national budget. Cameras shook during live broadcast of the session, which resumed shortly thereafter.

Cyprus is located an in earthquake-prone zone but strong tremors are uncommon. The highest registered in recent years was a magnitude of 6.3 in 1996, which also resulted in little damage.

Israel, which lies just 472 kilometers (293 miles) across the Mediterranean Sea, also felt shocks from the quake. Residents of Jerusalem, Haifa and northern city of Nahariya notified authorities that they felt the tremor.

The last time Israel was shaken by a similar quake was December 2020, when a 5.3-magnitude occurred between Cyprus and Turkey, south of Antalya.