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Series of Aftershocks Follow 5.4 Earthquake at Athos, Greece

earthquake Athos
The earthquake in the sea area south of Athos was felt in northern Greece. Credit: Geodynamic Institute of Athens

An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale was recorded on Sunday, 23 km (14.3 miles) southwest of the Athos peninsula and 229 km (142 miles) north-northwest of Athens, the Geodynamics Institute of Athens National Observatory said.

The quake’s focal depth was 10 km (6 miles) and it was felt in many parts of Chalkidiki and Thessaloniki. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

Over 10 aftershocks followed that 5.4 Richter earthquake in the sea region of the northern Aegean between the Mt. Athos and Sithonia peninsulas in Chalkidiki. The strongest aftershock reached 4.5 on the Richter scale.

Dr. Gerasimos Papadopoulos, a director of Seismology Research, said that the earthquake comes from the so-called North Aegean Trench, which is a continuation of the highly seismic fault in Northern Anatolia.

This fault has given rise to very strong earthquakes in the past, including the catastrophic 7.2 magnitude earthquake of 1905, which occurred at the tip of the Athos peninsula.

Vassilis Karakostas, a professor of Seismology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, said that it is too early to say whether the 5.4-magnitude tremor was the main one, adding that it will take at least 24 hours to determine this.

At least, he said, it occurred under the sea and far from any significant population centers.

Last week an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 was registered near Florina, in northwestern Greece.

Greece is especially earthquake-prone

Greece lies in a highly seismically active region. The vast majority of earthquakes cause no damage or injuries, however.

In October 2020, an earthquake that struck the eastern Greek Aegean island of Samos and the nearby Turkish coast killed two people on Samos and at least 75 people in Turkey.

The country is located in a complex geological boundary zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate.

The northern part of Greece lies on the Eurasian Plate while the southern part lies on the Aegean Sea Plate.

The Aegean Sea Plate is moving southwestward with respect to the Eurasian Plate at about 30 mm (1 inch) per year while the African Plate is subducting northward, beneath the Aegean Sea Plate, at a rate of about 40 mm (1.6 inches) per year.

The northern plate boundary is a relatively diffuse divergent boundary while the southern convergent boundary forms the Hellenic Arc.

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