Tag Archives: Earthquake

Earthquake felt in Galilee

Haaretz reports a minor quake in the Galilean town of Carmiel (Karmiel). Carmiel is located west of the Sea of Galilee about half way to the Mediterranean town of Acco (Acre).

Residents near the northern town of Carmiel reported late-night vibrations which seismologists later confirmed as a minor quake measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale. No damage or injuries were caused.

In 2008 Israel was hit by a 4.1-magnitude quake with its epicenter in Lebanon, which caused damage across the country, ripping open a large hole in the Temple Mount plaza outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and bringing down a house in the West Bank.

Israel also suffered four successive jolts in a four-week period in 2007.

The last major earthquake to strike the area was in 1927, measuring more than 6.0 Richter scale and killing 500 people.

Israeli experts say that because of population growth and high-rise construction, an earthquake of the same magnitude today would kill more than 18,000.

Read the complete article here.

Our photo was made looking east from the traditional Mount of Beatitudes.

View east across the Sea of Galilee from Mount of Beatitudes. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View east across the Sea of Galilee from Mount of Beatitudes. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We have written about earthquakes in the Bible World several times. Check here, and use the Search box for the other posts.

Planning for earthquakes in Eastern Turkey

Last week I wrote about references to earthquakes in the Bible. In 2007 I traveled in Eastern Turkey, in the Biblical land of Ararat (Urartu) (2 Kings 19:37). Along the road between Van and Batman we saw a group of men adding a room to a house.

Notice that the house is built of field stones. Above the window there is a lintel of wood. To the right side of the window you may also see a long piece of wood. I will come back to that later. Notice the roof. It is made of timber, straw, and mud.

House between Van and Batman in Eastern Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

House between Van and Batman in Eastern Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo below shows one of the men working on the roof of the new room. Notice the mud roof of the existing room.  The worker is preparing a piece of timber with a simple hand tool similar to those used three to four thousand years ago.

Adding a new room in the land of Ararat. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Adding a new room in the land of Ararat. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here we see part of the new wall. Notice the field stone filled with smaller stones. A wooden lintel is used over the window. That might not be unusual to us. Look below the window. The timber is not only under the window, but also extends several feet to the right.

Preparing for an earthquake in Eastern Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Preparing for an earthquake in Eastern Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

My friends and I spoke only a few words in Turkish. The men building the house spoke no English. I pointed to the wood below the window and did my imitation of the shaking of an earthquake. This evoked a good smile from one of the Turkish men. He nodded to indicate that I had the right idea. The wood helps to absorb the shock of an earthquake.

In our modern housing we use rebar to strengthen our buildings. This, along with metal ties help reinforce our buildings to resist the damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. If an earthquake similar to the one in Haiti had hit southern California there likely would have been little loss of life. The buildings in Haiti were made of concrete blocks without any reinforcement. Ancient people knew they had to find ways to cushion the shock. The people of Eastern Turkey have learned the same.

In principle, Jesus taught the same thing about building.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:24-29 ESV)

Are you building on the rock?

Earthquakes common in the Bible world

Earthquakes were, and are, common in the Bible world. Earthquakes are common in Iran (Persia), Turkey (Asia Minor), Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan.

The Great Rift runs all the way from northern Syria through Lebanon, Israel, the Arabah, and into eastern Africa. In Israel the area is called the Jordan Valley or the Dead Sea Rift, It is not surprising that earthquakes are mentioned frequently in the Bible. The prophet Amos dates his visions to “two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1). The earthquake he makes reference to must have been so memorable that everyone would know what he was talking about. Zechariah (14:5) also calls attention to this earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.

Jesus, in predicting the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, said, “and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes” (Matthew 24:7; see Luke 21:11).

About a year and a half ago I wrote about Philadelphia with special attention to the danger of earthquakes here. I suggest you read that post. The letter to the church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) makes an allusion to the events that occur after an earthquake. In the promise to the overcomers the Lord says “I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore (v 12). In the case of earthquakes people stay outside for several days due to the fear of aftershocks. Those who overcome need not fear being toppled, as a pillar might be toppled in the earthquake.

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. (Revelation 3:12 NAU)

The archaeological excavations of many Biblical cities throughout Asia Minor, and along the Great Rift, reveal evidence of earthquakes. Some of the gates were built with pieces of timber to absorb the shock from the tremors. The reconstructed gate at Megiddo illustrates this practice.

Megiddo Gate with view of Jezreel Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Megiddo Gate with view of Jezreel Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The same practice is reflected in Scripture in the account of the rebuilding of the temple according to the order of the Persian King Cyrus.

In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be rebuilt, the place where sacrifices were offered, and let its foundations be retained. Its height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits, with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. Let the cost be paid from the royal treasury. (Ezra 6:3-4 ESV)

Earthquake Felt in Israel, Syria and Lebanon

The Jerusalem Post reports that an earthquake was felt in Israel last Friday, Feb. 15. Read the full story here.

The earth shook in many parts of Israel at 12:37 p.m. Friday. The quake was felt mainly in coastline cities, including Haifa, Tel Aviv and Nahariya.
The quake, Israel Radio reported, was also felt in Syria and Lebanon. A faded echo of the quake that hit the coast was also felt at the editorial offices of The Jerusalem Post in Jerusalem.
….

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said on its Web site that the quake Friday was 5.3 on the Richter scale and that its epicenter was in Lebanon.

The region is long overdue for an earthquake of epic and potentially catastrophic proportions, scientists say.

The Great Rift runs all the way from northern Syria through Lebanon, Israel, the Arabah, and into eastern Africa. In Israel the area is called the Jordan Valley or the Dead Sea Rift, It is not surprising that earthquakes are mentioned frequently in the Bible. The prophet Amos dates his visions to “two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1). The earthquake he makes reference to must have been so memorable that everyone would know what he was talking about. Zechariah (14:5) also calls attention to this earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.

Jesus, in predicting the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, said, “and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes” (Matthew 24:7; see Luke 21:11).

We have a wonderful example of the power of an earthquake in the Jordan Valley at the site of Bethshan [Bet-she’an, Beth-shean], about 25 miles south of the Sea of Galilee. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 749. This photo shows the evidence brought to light during recently archaeological excavations in the city.

Earthquake Damage at Bethshan in A.D. 749. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.