On Sunday, researchers said that Magma, in a remote region of northwest Saudi Arabia, has come up to just under the surface, causing a flurry of small to moderate quakes and threatening to form a new volcano.
The US Geological Survey team reported that about 30,000 quakes shook the region of Harrat Lunayyir from May to June last year and opened an 8 km long rift.
40,000 residents were evacuated by the Saudi government at the time but has since let them move back home. But the residents should be ready to leave again if the quakes shook the ground, the USGS team reported in the journal Nature Geoscience.
John Pallister of the USGS and colleagues at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere wrote: “This finding indicates that the region is at risk from significant geohazards”.
The area is known for its lava fields.
They wrote: “The 2009 intrusive episode at Harrat Lunayyir, along with geomorphically young lava and tephra deposits are reminders that, although eruptions are not frequent, the harrat fields remain active and potentially hazardous”.