Over seventy aftershocks rattled Evia, Greece in the twenty-four hours following the 4.9 earthquake on Wednesday near the town of Psachna.
The tremor was also felt in Athens around 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the south of the island.
The epicenter of the earthquake was five kilometers south of Psachna. It occurred at a shallow depth of ten kilometers beneath the epicenter.
The local authorities in central Evia are on alert due to the aftershocks. The mayor of Dirfion Messapion Giorgos Psathas said to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that “despite the fact that no injuries or [significant] damages have been reported so far, the total of the municipalities and the regions’ civil protection services are on full alertness.”
Old or abandoned buildings damaged at Evia earthquake
The mayor also reported that there was only some damage to old or abandoned buildings, and these were mostly houses. Twelve civil engineers from the Environment Ministry assisted by six civil engineers from the municipality and another six from the region are combing the area for possible damage.
A committee of experts convened at the order of Climate Crisis & Civil Protection, and Minister Christos Stylianides warned that seismic activity in Evia is still unfolding.
Efthymios Lekkas, president and chair of the Seismic Threat Evaluation Committee at the Organization of Antiseismic Planning and Protection (OASP), said after the committee’s meeting that “there is no cause for concern.”
He told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) that “the committee evaluated developments as normal,” and said members could not tell if the earthquake, registered at 2:24 pm local time was the main one or not.
“Nature will decide about that,” he noted, adding that the committee is reviewing and updating readiness plans for the area of Psachna, site of a known fault on the island.
People should be on alert but not panic after the earthquake
University of Thessaloniki seismologist Kostas Papazachos also told AMNA that people should be on alert but not panic. The area is known for its seismic activity, as the Psachna fault lies there, he explained.
“Theoretically, this fault could cause an earthquake registering up to 6 on the Richter scale, but has not done so, so far,” the professor said. “On the contrary, up to now it has acted differently, as in 2008, when it caused low-grade earthquakes for nearly a year.”
Geodynamic Institute research director Gerassimos Papadopoulos argued that the range of seismic activity on Evia has expanded from southern Evia to central Evia, it was felt in Athens, and its epicenter was also very close to the urban center of Chalkida, the island’s main city and site of the bridge connecting it to the mainland.
Following the earthquake, all Civil Protection agencies, the Fire Brigade, and natural disaster rescuers in EMAK were placed on high alert for more earthquakes.
Authorities have also alerted citizens to avoid entering or remaining in buildings with damage or which are highly vulnerable, and to choose safe routes when driving or walking in case of falling objects.
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.