A strong earthquake rattled the island of Evia in central Greece at 2:25 pm local time. The tremor was felt in Athens around 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the south of the island.
According to the Geodynamic Institute of Athens, the earthquake had a magnitude of 4.9 on the Richter scale. The Euro-Mediterranean Institute estimated that it had a magnitude of 5.2.
There have been no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Residents in the capital of Athens reported rattling windows and strong, intense tremors.
The epicenter of the earthquake was 5 kilometers south of the town of Psachna in Evia. The earthquake occurred at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers beneath the epicenter.
The exact magnitude, epicenter, and depth of the quake might be revised shortly as seismologists review data and refine their calculations or as other agencies issue their reports.
Initial reports say that the tremor is unrelated to the series of earthquakes that hit the Greek island in late November.
The tremor “caused intense concern in the entire region,” deputy regional governor, Giorgos Kelaiditis, said.
“It was a very strong earthquake,” he said. “So far no problems have been reported. I also spoke with residents from the village of Pissonas which is close to the [epicenter] but there are no problems. The Civil Protection forces have started patrols while the tremors continue.”
“We still don’t know if it has an impact in terms of damages. But this earthquake is not connected to the tremors that occurred in the previous period in Evia,” Athens University geology and disaster management professor Efthymios Lekkas told kathimerini.gr, referring to a series of quakes that have rattled the island in the past few months.
Athanasios Ganas, the director of research at the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens, said the tremor occurred in the area of Psachna.
“It is an area with medium capacity faults that usually reach a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale,” he said. “So this earthquake fits the profile of this area. It was very superficial which is why it was so noticeable.”
Earthquake hit Evia in late November
In late November, the island of Evia was hit by a series of earthquakes with the strongest measuring 4.9.
Greece lies in a highly seismically-active region. The vast majority of earthquakes cause no damage or injuries, however.
The country is located in a complex geological boundary zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the African and Eurasian Plates.
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 thirty millimeters (one inch) per year while the African Plate is subducting northward beneath the Aegean Sea Plate at a rate of about forty millimeters (1.6 inches) per year.