A new earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale shook central Greece at 20:38 on Thursday.
The epicenter was near the town of Elassona, which was hit on Wednesday by an earthquake measuring 6.0.
The National Observatory of Athens’ Institute of Geodynamics reported that the new quake’s epicenter was 16km southwest from Elassona proper, close to Larissa.
“This new earthquake was a surprise for us”, University of Athens professor of tectonics Efthymios Lekkas told national broadcaster ERT.
Also president of the Earthquake Planning & Protection Agency (OASP), Lekkas emphasized that this was not an aftershock but a new earthquake altogether, which resulted from the activation of a new branch of the fault in the area, the northwestern part of it.
Lekkas added that “everything now goes back to square one”, and did not rule out an aftershock of the same magnitude.
Professor of Seismology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Kostas Papazachos noted that “is almost a twin earthquake to the one measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale which shook the region on midday Wednesday.”
Speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA), hew added that the revised estimate of this fresh tremor might be even higher.
The epicenter has shifted slightly to the northwest, he said, but it comes from the same fault.
Recovery work from Wednesday’s earthquake
The recovery work began as scores of people from the villages of Damasi and Mesochori, some 240 kilometers (149 miles) north of Athens, spent the night away from their homes after Wednesday’s quake.
Civil protection officials said tents had been set up at a local stadium for temporary accommodation, in addition to five hotels in the nearby town of Trikala and the main city of Larissa.
Repeated aftershocks have struck the area, including a strong 5.2 magnitude tremor on Wednesday evening.
Crews inspected schools, hospitals and other vital public buildings in the area, in addition to homes, state news agency AMNA said, adding that schools were closed on Thursday.
Emergency response to earthquake
The heads of Greece’s Interior Ministry, Interior Minister Makis Voridis and Alternate Interior Minister Stelios Petsas, have activated a full emergency response to Wednesday’s earthquake in Thessaly.
In order to best provide aid to the residents of the earthquake-stricken region, the state will offer financial support to cover emergencies as well as any restoration work on buildings damaged by the quake.
Notably, no one was gravely injured or was killed by the quake in Greece on Wednesday, a fact that Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Livanios stressed:
“It is very important that there are no serious injuries and no human fatalities after Wednesday’s earthquake as human life is above all else,” he stated.
While no one was injured and no deaths were recorded, at least 30 houses, along with a school, were severely damaged in Mesochori in the municipality of Elassona.
As their houses are currently unsafe, these residents have been offered tents for temporary shelter.
The six who were rescued had been trapped in collapsed houses in the same village.