Not only does Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city get to have all the usual problems involving exploding population within a geographically/geologically limited area. Not only does it have to deal with flood waters raging down the wadis when there’s significant rain. Now, Arab News reports, the city needs to concern itself with earthquakes.

The newspaper carries a report from the Saudi Geological Survey saying that Jeddah is subject to the effects of the spreading of the Red Sea. While construction in Jeddah has not been done to any particular ‘earthquake-proof’ standard, authorities assure one and all that buildings are sufficiently strong to withstand earthquakes.

Geological survey says Jeddah vulnerable to earthquakes

JEDDAH: The president of the Saudi Geological Survey has said there is a possibility of a strong earthquake at the Red Sea’s west east coast.

“Its implications cannot be predicted,” said Zuhair Nawab in an interview with Arab News.

His statement comes at a time when rumors on the Internet spread that an earthquake might hit Jeddah sometime soon.

Nawab denied these rumors, saying there is no scientific timing for the earthquake to happen. “The vulnerability of Jeddah to an earthquake like the one that hit Cairo in 1992 is something possible. The whole western coast is classified as an earthquake zone, although most of those that hit the area are small ones,” he said.

December:09:2012 - 08:54 | Comments & Trackbacks (9) | Permalink
9 Responses to “Lucky Jeddah!”
  1. 1
    G Jeff Said:
    December:10:2012 - 09:29 

    Depending on the type and magnitude-I can say from personal experience that they might be in for a surprise abut what earthquakes can do to structures built on loose ground without a thought towards earthquake safety…I grew up in earthquake country, running an earthquake drill a month every year I was in grade school and junior high and none of them prepare you for the real thing! If it’s any higher than a 6.0 I think they’ll see a lot of problems. Then again, I’m not a scientist or a geologist so what do I know? It might however be a good time to start enforcing some codes in new construction though.

  2. 2
    News-2012-12-10 | SUSRIS Pinged With:
    December:10:2012 - 12:10 

    [...] Lucky Jeddah! [...]

  3. 3
    News-2012-12-10 | SBRIS Pinged With:
    December:10:2012 - 12:17 

    [...] Lucky Jeddah! [...]

  4. 4
    News-2012-12-10 | ArabiaLink Pinged With:
    December:10:2012 - 12:22 

    [...] Lucky Jeddah! [...]

  5. 5
    Tom Lippman Said:
    December:10:2012 - 17:53 

    In my book “Saudi Arabia on the Edge,” I report on a conversation with Dr Abdullah al-Amri, a geophysicist at King Saud University, who has established that both coasts, Gulf and Red Sea, are geologically unstable and quake-prone. He says that is the reason Saudi Arabia will have difficulty finding sites for its planned nuclear power plants — they need to be on the coasts to use the water for cooling, but the terrain is geologically inappropriate. Tom Lippman

  6. 6
    John Burgess Said:
    December:10:2012 - 22:02 

    @Tom Lippman: Glad to see you’re still reading here!

    All the KSA needs to do is build a big canal linking either the Gulf or the Red Sea to one of the existing, barren geological basins inland. The areas south of Al-Khobar, but north of Qatar, or south of Qatar and north of the UAE might serve. On the Red Sea coast, it would be more difficult.

  7. 7
    dan Said:
    December:11:2012 - 06:19 

    I don’t think that seismic instability is really the issue; if it was there would be no nuclear power generation capacity in Japan or California, both of which experience levels of seismic activity that are orders of magnitude greater in both intensity and frequency than the Arabian peninsula.

    The idea of constructing a canal to provide cooling water/run the steam turbines at an inland site is entertaining, but also absurdly impractical.

  8. 8
    John Burgess Said:
    December:11:2012 - 06:38 

    @dan: See: While using nukes to create the canal is out of the question, the KSA still has a lot of disposable income right now that could be used for digging.

  9. 9
    dan Said:
    December:11:2012 - 10:06 


    I’m not sure how an insane plan to create a giant salt-pan in Egypt, in the vague hopes of some ancillary hydro-power benefits, which never got off the ground – for obvious reasons – is remotely relevant; at best it accentuates my point about the absurdly impractical.

    That’s before we start considering the potentially catastrophic long-term environmental consequences of creating a salt-pan in a hyper-arid region ( the Aral Sea problem springs to mind ), or whether it would be remotely feasible to marry this idea to the specific technical demands of running a nuclear power station without it going into meltdown.

    I’m not an expert, but I do wonder whether it would be remotely feasible to transport/pump already very warm and very saline water from the Persian Gulf to an inland site, at a flow rate equivalent to that of a decent-sized river, with at least some of the journey being significantly uphill and requiring a hefty pumping system ( lots and lots of energy ), with said already warm and saline water becoming ever warmer and ever more saline on the journey, to the extent that by the time it reached its destination it might be too warm and too saline to fulfill its function.

    No amount of money is ever going to trump the laws of physics; and I’m not sure that the laws of physics are going to be favourable on this one – at least at a price and energy return point that isn’t utterly ridiculous.

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