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Wed 13 Feb 2008 12:07 PM

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Minor quake shakes Massafi

Tremor measuring 3.7 on Richter scale hits mountainous area of UAE for third time in a week.

A minor earthquake has struck the Massafi area of the UAE for the third time in less than a week, the latest in a series of quakes to hit the Gulf Arab state.

The earthquake took place at around 4.20pm local time and measured 3.7 on the Richter scale, the National Centre of Meteorology And Seismology (NCMS) said on Tuesday, quoted state news agency Wam.

The NCMS said no major damage has been reported.

It said the epicentre was less than 10 kilometres from the surface of the earth.

The quake followed two tremors, each measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale, in the Massafi area on Friday evening, and another five at the beginning of last week felt up and down the east coast, the most powerful of which had a magnitude of 4.4.

The tremors follow a warning by the Kuwait-based Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (Ropme) that it is "only a matter of time" before a major quake hits the Gulf region.

However, European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) Secretary-General Remy Bossu has said the succession of tremors were not necessarily a warning that larger earthquakes were on the way.

He said minor earthquakes were often grouped together in area and time, and it was not abnormal to observe several events in such a short space of time in the region.

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