| GEO World|
| Saudi Arabia evacuates 5 villages in volcano scare|
| Updated at: 0109 PST, Tuesday, May 19, 2009|
RIYADH: Saudi authorities evacuated five western villages on Monday after tremors hit a volcanic region in the past weeks raising concerns of possible eruptions.
"There was a large quake, the largest so far," Ahmedal-Attas, vice president of the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS), told media after civil defence officials evacuated the villages near the town of al-Ais.
Attas was referring to a 4.68 earthquake, which hit the region on Sunday. Al-Ais, 150 km (100 miles) northeast of theYanbu on the Red Sea, is not close to the world's top oilexporter's oil and petrochemicals facilities.
The region lies on a fault line, according to SGS, which declined to comment on current magma levels, but newspapers reported that in the past few days magma levels had risen to 4km (2.5 miles) below the surface from 8 km.