While seismologists in Israel believe they have found the cause of earthquake swarms centered around the Sea of Galilee, prophecies abound that seem to provide better answers.
The Earthquake Connection
After a swarm of earthquakes registering a magnitude of 3-4, shook northern Israel in 2013 and 2018, Dr. Nadav Wetzler, a seismologist at the Geological Survey of the Ministry of Energy, and hydrologist Dr. Eyal Shalev wondered whether there was a connection between the tremors and extraction of water from ground wells in the region. It has long been known that earthquakes can be caused by injecting water into the ground, as is done in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique used to break open rocks and release natural gas or petroleum, but a connection between water extraction and earthquakes was unknown.
Water shortages and the water level dropping in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) led to increased reliance upon drilling water wells in the 1990s. Dr. Wetzler led a study by the Geological Survey of Israel, and in his paper published last week in Geophysical Research Letters, he suggested that the continuous groundwater extraction from several wells in the region did indeed trigger the earthquake swarms.
"It's a collection of wells that go down several tens or hundreds of meters into the freshwater aquifer," Dr. Nadav Wetzler, a seismologist at the Geological Survey of the Ministry of Energy, told Hebrew language news Yedioth Ahronoth this week.
The recent study was the first to prove that water extraction can initiate seismic activity.
"The earthquakes in 2013 and 2018 occurred after steep surface declines following water pumping—meaning there is a correlation," Wetzler argues. "We haven't looked at the exact timing of the quakes in relation to the pumping, and we definitely want to continue researching the issue. I hope this study will be first in a collection of surveys that we plan to launch on the topic. We want to look at this in detail and build a model that will include more elements that were not included in the initial model, reviewing all the processes at a higher resolution."
How the Process Works
Co-author Emily Brodsky, a seismologist at the University of California (UC) explained how the process works.
"Pulling the water out allows the rocks to kind of relax away from one another, and therefore unclamps the fault," Brodsky explained in the report.
The researchers warned that small quakes generated by water extraction could trigger larger quakes.
"Earthquakes beget earthquakes," Brodsky said. "Once the rock breaks, it doesn't know how it started."
The threat of a catastrophic earthquake, or series of earthquakes, is very real in Israel. Israel is seismically active, located along the Syrian-African fault line, which runs along the Israel-Jordan border, part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from eastern Lebanon to Mozambique.
Experts estimate that a major earthquake is statistically due to strike Israel every 80-100 years. The last major earthquake to hit the region was in July 1927, with the epicenter in the northern part of the Dead Sea. Several cities were severely damaged, and close to 300 people were killed.
2016 report by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's Home-Front Readiness Subcommittee found that if Israel were to be struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 7,000 people would be killed, another 8,600 injured and 377,000 left homeless. In addition, the country could face damage of up to NIS 200 billion.
Though clearly traumatic, massive earthquakes in Israel are prophesied to accompany the multinational Gog and Magog conflict that will signal the end of times.
On that day, when Gog sets foot on the soil of Yisrael—declares Hashem—My raging anger shall flare up. For I have decreed in My indignation and in My blazing wrath: On that day, a terrible earthquake shall befall the land of Yisrael. The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that move on the ground, and every human being on earth shall quake before Me. Mountains shall be overthrown, cliffs shall topple, and every wall shall crumble to the ground (Ezek. 38:18-20, The Israel Bible).
A more prophetic approach than that utilized by the seismologists might have given the same results. A lunar eclipse visible in North and South America on Jan. 21 coincided with the holiday of Tu B'shvat.
Relation to astronomy
The astronomical event took place during a supermoon; when the moon is at its perigee, the point in its month-long elliptical orbit that brings it closest to Earth, making the moon appear up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than at its apogee, its furthest point from Earth. At that time, the proper conditions existed to give the moon a distinctly reddish tint.
Rabbi Mordechai Genut discussed the lunar eclipse in his book Davar B'ito, a guide to the calendar based on esoteric Jewish sources.
"A lunar eclipse in the month of Shevat is a sign of the rise of the aspect of din (judgment) in the world," Rabbi Genut told Breaking Israel News at the time.
"There will be a marked increase in earthquakes and volcanoes, even more than we have seen in the past year," Rabbi Genuth said. "Just as the eclipse is a conflict between the sun and the moon to rule over the heavens, there will be a similar conflict on earth. This will begin a time when governments are in balance. Some governments that seem powerful right now will fall and others will rise in their place."
Rabbi Genut based this on a verse in Isaiah.
In that day, Hashem will punish The host of heaven in heaven And the kings of the earth on earth (Isa. 24:21).
Rabbi Genuth's prediction of earthquakes was repeated in the beginning of July, when a lunar eclipse was visible in the South Pacific region. The eclipse coincided with Rosh Chodesh, the new moon marking the beginning of a new month. The day after the eclipse, the first of two major quakes struck Southern California. They were the first major quakes to hit the region in over two decades.
The Bottom Line
The plethora of earthquake prophecies seems to be a sign of the times. Two weeks ago, a string of 677 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater shook the globe, a rate three times the normal daily dose of earthquakes. This included 121 earthquakes of at least magnitude 4.5 around the world, topped by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that hit Japan.
In conclusion, earthquakes seem to be increasing in a prophetic manner that science is scrambling to explain.
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