1881 Chios earthquake
|Local date||3 April 1881|
|Magnitude||6.5 Mw, 7.3 Ms|
|Areas affected||Chios, Çeşme|
|Max. intensity||XI (Extreme) |
The 1881 Chios earthquake occurred at 13:40 local time (11:30 UTC) on 3 April. It caused severe damage on the island of Chios and also affected Çeşme and Alaçatı on the coast of Turkey. The earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 7.3 and there were an estimated 7,866 casualties. The devastation from the earthquake was the last of the three 'catastrophes' that affected the island of Chios in the 19th century.
The town of Chios was devastated, causing many casualties, partly due to the narrowness of the streets. In the rest of the island, 25 out of the 64 villages were destroyed with another 17 badly damaged. In both Çeşme and Alaçatı about 40% of the houses were destroyed.
The number of casualties on the Turkish mainland was low, possibly due to most of the inhabitants leaving their houses to watch the passage of the passenger ship Aya Evangelistra from the shore.
The epicenter of the earthquake was in the southeastern part of Chios where intensities reached IX (Violent) on the Mercalli intensity scale. Isoseismal maps show an elongation west to east with an area of intensity VIII (Severe) affecting the western end of the Karaburun Peninsula of the Turkish mainland. Vertical movements of up to 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) were observed. Magnitudes ranging from Mw = 6.5  to Ms= 7.3  have been estimated for this event.
After the earthquake many of the inhabitants of Chios left the island. This followed the trend set by the other two 'catastrophes' of the 19th century that devastated the island, the massacre of Chios in 1822 and the failure of the orange crop in 1833. Together these events left most of Chios in a state of poverty and severely underpopulated.
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