© Malta Tourism Authority
A series of five earth tremors, with the first occurring at around midnight, were felt in various localities in Malta yesterday, as reports of shaking and objects moving on the shelves reached this newspaper.

The first earthquake, of magnitude 3.5, occurred early this morning at around eleven minutes past midnight, about 37 km east of Malta. This was followed by other events at approximately the same location.

The next quake, of magnitude 3.3, occurred at 3:34am, then at 4:44am a third quake of magnitude 2.5 occurred. The next one was at around 6:39am, and of magnitude 3.5 and the final one happened at around 11.30am. Another tremor, the strongest at 4.0 on the richter scale was felt just after 3pm. The tremor was located at a depth of 2km in the sea 25km off Zabbar. It was also felt in Italy.

No damage was caused and the quakes were mostly felt by residents in the southern area of Malta, such as Zejtun, Marsa and Fgura, and in the harbour area, according to seismologist Pauline Galea.

The residents reported a few seconds of tremors and things moving about on the shelves, Dr Galea said. The events were located by the Seismic Monitoring and Research Unit, University of Malta.

This seismic activity is associated with the offshore faults around the Maltese islands, which often occurs as "earthquake swarms" lasting from a few hours to a few days.

This can be considered quite normal activity and about average for our region, Dr Galea explained.

The effects of another earthquake of magnitude 6.1 which occurred off the coast of Crete, were felt in Malta not that long ago, on 1 April 2011.

The strongest recorded earthquake, the effects of which were felt in Malta, was probably that which happened in 1693 in Sicily, which was of magnitude 7.4, Dr Galea explained.

The location of the earthquakes may be viewed on the website, where residents may also fill in the online questionnaire if they felt any shaking.