Al Ain: People in the emirates were surprised at the range of the earthquake that hit southwestern Pakistan that sent strong shock waves as far as Al Ain.
The shock wave took just four minutes to travel more than a thousand kilometres from the epicentre to the Oasis city of the UAE.
Major earthquakes in 2010
The time of earthquake in Dalbandin in Pakistan's Balochistan province, a town close to the epicentre, was at 12:23pm (UAE time) and its waves hit different UAE cities and Al Ain at 12:27pm.
There was also an aftershock of 4.9 magnitude on the Richter scale but its wave did not travel far.
The quake, though declared as a major, occured deep inside the earth, which is why experts said it caused just minor property damage in Pakistan.
Radio 2 listener Neil Ollier recounts experiencing the tremor that hit UAE
* Audio supplied by Radio 2
A quake of this magnitude is capable of causing widespread and heavy damage if occurred closer to the surface and populated centres.
Windows, doors, and household items rattled in most of the UAE major cities in the middle of night when the tremor hit the area. People, many of them fast asleep, woke up and rushed outside the homes and buildings. The duration of the jolts was less than a minute.
It was the third earthquake in the recent history shock waves of which reached Al Ain. The first quake that rocked different UAE city and reached as far as Al Ain was occurred on November 27, 2005.
The first tremor that was felt in the UAE in the recent history was in Masafi areas on March 3, 1999.
The earthquake monitoring stations of the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) intercepted of the quake waves and a confirmation was released at around 2:00am, saying the earthquake caused no harm in the country.
A senior official of the NCMS said it was high magnitude but fortunately a deep earthquake that caused no damage. He said a lot of people called the centre and police immediately after the jolts.
Doneet Lobo, an Indian resident of Al Ain, said he was reading a book at his bed when the tremors were felt. He immediately got out of the room.
“The things around me rattled for a few seconds and I was horrified,” said Lobo. He said he immediately contacted his friends in the city and they informed him that they felt the tremor.
Saji, a Gulf News reader living in Dubai, said: “I live on the first floor of a building in Deira. While sitting on my rocking chair and watching television I felt the severe shaking of my chair as if it was being tested for torque. I felt around five jerks. I then saw the window of the room shaking loudly.”
Shaikh Abideen said he was in a hotel room on the fourth floor and was working on his laptop. “At around 12.27am my bed and chandeliers started shaking. I jumped out of my bed and ran towards the window to see if I could see anything,” he said. Abideen said he, however, could not see anything unusual outside, but “I was sure it was an earthquake.”
Naresh from Sharjah said: “I live on the 14th floor and… I saw my wardrobe shake. I immediately went to the balcony to see what was happening. As soon as I reached I thought I was getting dizzy as everything was shaking.”
He said he saw lights in the opposite buildings flickering and then realised that it was an earthquake. “I went downstairs and saw some people gathering on the street so I joined them. This is the first time I have felt a tremor. It is scary,” said Naresh.
Serena Azmat, another resident of Sharjah, said she was sleeping when felt that her bed was rocking like a boat. “I immediately got up to investigate and stubbed my toe in the process of trying to navigate around the room in the dark,” she said.
Seismologists say that the UAE is located close to the world's major earthquake zone, which is why it is prone to shockwaves from quakes at nearby countries.
Experts' major concern, however, comes from the seismic activity in the Zagros earthquake belt in western Iran. Iran has a history of earthquake and a major fault line. The Zagros fault line passes through the southern Iran.
The emirates also have three local fault zones that are located near Dibba, between Bidyah and Jebel Salhal, and Wadi Ham. The areas have been hit by several earthquakes since March 1999.
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