Earthquakes: What’s True & What Isn’t

Plenty of fake news and rumors are spreading in Lebanon about earthquakes which is causing panic among Lebanese. This is evident by the hundreds of messages we’re getting with similar questions and concerns.

So we put this together to help clarify and to fact-check these claims.

#1 “I heard that a 7 magnitude earthquake will take place tomorrow between 11pm and 3am” – False

It’s scientifically impossible to predict when or how strong an earthquake will hit with certainty. Ignore this. If it’s a news site or Whatsapp group, report them for spreading fake news.

#2 “Earthquakes and Tremors are the same thing” – False

Earthquakes and tremors are not the same thing. An earthquake is a large-scale ground movement that can cause significant damage to buildings and other structures. Earthquakes are usually caused by the sudden movement of tectonic plates, which releases a large amount of energy.

A tremor, on the other hand, is a smaller-scale ground movement that is usually less intense and shorter in duration than an earthquake.

#3 “Tremors will be stronger than before” – False

Aftershock tremors are normal and common. They are actually a good sign (more on that in a bit). Tremors diminish in strength over time and can go up to months after major earthquakes like the ones that happened in Turkey.

Tremors are a good sign as the plates are stabilizing in place and releasing the tension. The alternative is the tension building up and releasing at once in a major earthquake – this is why they’re a good thing for the most part.

#4 “Tremors are dangerous” – Mostly False

Tremors are harmless and much weaker than earthquakes. We marked this as “mostly false” because the dangers are that if you are in an old at risk building then a strong enough tremor could hypothetically damage it further and lead it to collapse.

But the building needs to really be damaged to be on that level of risk. Make sure to check the exterior and interior and report any cracks to the municipality.

#5 “Whatsapp group reported MTV/Aljadeed/British Society/Red Cross/Scientists said there’s another one.” – Most Likely False

Very high chance this is fake. Stop taking your news from unreliable sources and headless Whatsapp groups/chats. They’re making claims on others’ behalf.

Instead, go directly to whoever they claim made the statement to see if this is true. If they claimed the Red Cross made a statement, check their Twitter direct to see if it’s true. Receiving accurate and reliable news a few minutes late is better than receiving fake news immediately.

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