Updated 4.18pm with details
Two massive earthquakes which struck Turkey earlier on Monday are not related to recent tremors Malta has experienced in the past few weeks, geoscientists have said.
The deadly quakes which struck Turkey and northern Syria have left over 1,500 dead and many more trapped beneath rubble, and spurred countries, including Malta, to pledge humanitarian aid to help the massive rescue effort.
While the earthquakes made global headlines, they also sparked local concern, following weeks of disconcerting tremors felt in Malta and Gozo.
Over the past two weeks, a string of tremors hit Malta and Gozo, the most recent shake taking place on Saturday 4 February at 7.04 am and recorded at a magnitude of 4.9 by the University of Malta’s Seismic Monitoring and Research Group.
But seismology expert Daniela Farrugia, who forms part of the University research group, says there is no cause for concern.
“These earthquakes reported in Turkey are not connected to what we have experienced in the past two weeks,” Farrugia told Times of Malta.
Turkey's earthquakes fell on the East Anatolian fault, Farrugia said.
Seismologist Pauline Galea, who heads the University research group, agreed with her colleagues assessment and explained further.
Malta is situated on the northern edge of the African plate, Galea said, whereas the Turkey earthquakes are related to the plate boundary between the Arabian and Anatolian plates.
The African plate meets these two plates at a "triple junction", she said.
Is there a risk of a tsunami?
Local concerns were further sparked when, shortly after Turkey's first earthquake, Italian authorities issued a tsunami warning and halted train traffic in parts of Sicily, Calabria and Apulia.
Italy later withdrew the tsunami warning, without explanation.
Farrugia said there is no reason to fear a tsunami hitting Malta following the earthquake.
“The earthquake which took place was mainly inland and there is quite a distance from Malta and Turkey," she said, adding that a specialised tsunami monitoring system that the University research group operates was not triggered by any threats.