Social networking sites have been abuzz with fears that the Mediterranean Sea is receding the Middle East by up to 20 metres since the large earthquakes that hit the region earlier this month.
Egypt's Sinai, Libya, Algeria and Palestine, including the city of Acre and some beaches in the Gaza Strip, have seen new rocks exposed on their beaches with tidal waters moving five to 20 metres, leading to fears that a tsunami will strike.
Dr Zeyad Abu Heen, a seismologist and the official in charge of the Department of Disasters and Crises at the Islamic University in Gaza, tells MEMO: "The subject of tsunami waves is not included in the Mediterranean Sea because it is a semi-closed sea and resembles a large lake."
Instead, he says, the only way for such an event to occur in the area is through "a vertical movement which breaks the earth's crust, so a vertical displacement occurs, resulting in the displacement of water and the formation of huge and high waves travelling at a speed of up to 800 kilometres per hour, meaning that they will reach the shores of Palestine within minutes or an hour at most."
Putting people's fear at rest, Abu Heen says the earthquakes that devastated large parts of southern Turkiye and northwestern Syria took place several weeks ago and it has now been more than 24 hours since the subsequent large tremor, so fears of a tsunami are unfounded.
He explained that what is happening along the shore is a natural phenomenon, but people's fears have been heightened following the earthquakes.
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