Saudi Arabian authorities have dismissed predictions about a potential quake in the Red Sea by a prominent Saudi geologist as "personal opinions." The warning followed last week's powerful earthquake which struck parts of Turkiye and Syria, leading to tens of thousands of deaths.
On Friday, head Saudi geologist, Abdul Aziz bin Laboun, in a phone interview with Al-Hadath TV said, "This major tremor is expected and could happen at any minute," adding that "Seismic surveys show at least 1,000 tremors occur along the Red Sea. Consequently, we have to coexist with this situation, but precaution should be taken."
"We should thoroughly read the geological history of the region. These are not incidental events. They are characteristic of the region," Laboun warned without further elaboration.
Today, however Gulf News has reported that the spokesman for the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), Tareq Aba Al-Khalil, said in a statement: "What has recently been raised about the occurrence of a quake in the Red Sea are mere personal opinions, which are not based on studies and follow-ups. They are mere predictions."
READ: Ongoing Saudi donations exceed $51m for quake victims in Turkiye, Syria
"Predicting the time and sites of earthquakes is not possible. The Geological Risks Centre at the Saudi Geological Survey constantly follows round the clock the seismic activity in the middle region of the Red Sea along its groove fault," he added.
"The number of tremors monitored in the Red Sea doesn't exceed dozens per week. They are impalpable and don't pose any danger," the statement read.
Egypt which shares the Red Sea, also debunked the claims of an impending devastating earthquake. The head of the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG), Gad Al-Qady, said, "The Saudi colleague is completely wrong, and what he said is completely far from truth."
"There will not be a devastating earthquake in such a canyon, and this is not a personal opinion, but it is proven according to research and scientific results for both sides, east and west of the Red Sea," he said.
Last month the SGS recorded an earthquake measuring 4.6 magnitudes in the middle of the Red Sea, but was located far from Saudi coasts.
READ: Arab countries extend help for quake victims in Turkiye, Syria