Several experts confirmed that the water fall of the Mediterranean Sea and many water bodies is a normal natural phenomenon associated with the movement of waves, analysis and rumors after posts on social media described it as “mysterious”. Earthquakes have continued to hit the Middle East in recent weeks.
Circulating publications included images of beaches receding from the water; Among them is the beach of the town of Sidi Ifni in southern Morocco, which has seen receding seawater expose large areas of its sand, making an old “teleferic facility” appear entirely.
Other publications spoke of falling seawater in Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine, falling sea levels off Italian coasts and the drying up of rivers in Venice, calling it a “strange phenomenon” and warning that “something is about to happen”. ,” and some said it was a sign of a tsunami.
Social media has been awash with these accusations following the earthquakes and tremors that have struck several countries in the Middle East since last February sixth, triggering panic and claiming tens of thousands of lives in Turkey and Syria. But the recent receding of the sea on some beaches is a familiar natural phenomenon, caused by a number of factors that experts explain.
Waves occur when water levels rise in oceans and coastlines. When the water level on beaches recedes and recedes, so-called tides or low tides occur.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Hossein Yabet, head of communications at the General Directorate of Meteorology in Morocco, said that tides are a natural phenomenon that “occurs as a result of the gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun, which affect the waters of the seas and oceans.
“The Moon’s gravitational pull is greater because of its proximity to Earth,” Yabet added. If the Sun, Moon and Earth are in the same straight line, this leads to large tidal events, including spring tides.
In addition, other factors affect the movement of waves; Atmospheric pressure, water depth and beach shape etc.
Al-Hussein Youabed emphasized that the water level dropping in some coastal areas, including Sidi Ifni’s coastal areas, is natural and “is not a strange or exceptional phenomenon”.
He said, “For the town of Sidi Ifni, it is not the first or the last time that the sea level will reach a low level, with waves occurring twice a day like other Moroccan beaches.”
And the Mediterranean?
Al-Hussein Yabet attributes the low tide level recorded in the Mediterranean in the second week of February 2023 to the phenomenon of an astronomical tide, and attributes it to “the effect of atmospheric pressure that saw a 1035 HPA rise”. .”
This pressure prevailed over much of the Mediterranean region. This has led to a drop in sea level of about 22 centimeters, according to experts.
Alves Papa, head of the tidal control center in Venice, told AFP that the tides that caused Venice’s rivers to dry up were “absolutely normal”.
“About 70 percent of reflux occurs during this period, from January to February to be precise,” he added.
“Things will get back to normal,” Elvis assures Papa.
This was supported by Claire Frabol, Head of Tides and Winds at the Ocean and Marine Water Department in France.
Faraboul said in a statement to the French press that the drop in water in the Mediterranean Sea was temporary.
“This is a seasonal phenomenon of water mass shrinkage linked to lower temperatures in winter,” he said. As a result, the sea level is decreasing,” he said.
He added that this year’s natural contraction was accompanied by the formation of a “strong anti-cyclone”.
An anticyclone is a region where the pressure in the atmosphere is greater than that around it; This usually leads to dry and hot weather.
However, as Claire Frabol emphasizes, this phenomenon is not worrisome; “Events in this situation are not dangerous and we are working to get back to normal.”
Is there a tsunami risk?
According to the National Tsunami Warning Center (CENALT), “A tsunami is caused by an underwater earthquake of at least magnitude 6.5. Starting at 8 degrees, the resulting waves can be devastating.
In most cases, “the first wave of a tsunami is preceded by a rapid drop in sea level.”
In this case, Sylvie Pinsoni-Gavage, an applied mathematician, asserted that “if there was a possibility of a tsunami after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, it would have happened long ago”, i.e. immediately after the earthquake. .
Anne Replomaz, a professor of geography at Joseph Fourier University in France, settles the controversy by saying, “In the case of the February earthquake, the seismic fault was on land, not in the ocean. Hence, the possibility of a catastrophic tsunami was very low.
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