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Saudi tremors continue: return of evacuees delayed 25 June 2009

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The earthquakes in Saudi Arabia may have dropped out of the news recently, but the activity has been continuing. The return of residents evacuated from the Al Ais area of western Saudi Arabia has been indefinitely postponed following the occurrence of significant tremors over the past few days, reports the English-language Saudi daily Arab News:

The decision follows the relatively high intensity of tremors registered over the past two days, he said. According to an SGS bulletin issued yesterday, the National Network for Seismic Monitoring, a subsidiary of SGS, registered two tremors measuring 4.55 and 3.2 on the Richter scale in addition to several lesser tremors during the 24 hours ending noon yesterday.

Meanwhile an intriguing (if rather vague) story from the Saudi Gazette quotes a Saudi Geological Survey report that ‘geologists discovered the detachment of a large chunk of a mountain in Harrat Al-Shaqqah from the main mountain mass as the result of the widening of the faults in its base’, and gives the explanation of geology professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bin La’boon for the Al-Ais activity: ‘molten rocks under the ground tried to push their way to the surface through the channels used by old volcanoes that erupted earlier, but due to their old age the rocks had solidified, so the current molten rocks are trying to find a new way out’.

News
Earthquake threat persists in Al-AisArab News, 31 May 2009
SGS issues statement on Harrat Al-Shaqqah tremorsSaudi Gazette, 12 June 2009
Return of Al-Ais dwellers delayedArab News, 24 June 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Harrat Lunayyir – information from the GVP on the area where the seismic activity has been located
Global Volcanism Program: Arabia – information from the GVP about the volcanoes of Arabia

The Volcanism Blog