List of earthquakes in Greece

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This list of earthquakes in Greece includes notable earthquakes that have affected Greece during recorded history. This list is currently incomplete, representing only a fraction of the possible events.

Tectonic setting[edit]

Greece is located at the complex 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/yr while the African Plate is subducting northwards beneath the Aegean Sea Plate at a rate of about 40 mm/yr. The northern plate boundary is a relatively diffuse divergent boundary while the southern convergent boundary forms the Hellenic arc.[1]

These two plate boundaries give rise to two contrasting tectonic styles, extension on east-west trending fault zones with strike-slip tectonics on SW-NE trending fault zones throughout west and central Greece, Peloponnese and the northern Aegean and contractional in the southern Aegean, continuing around to the Ionian islands. The south Aegean is the location of the volcanic arc and is characterised by extension. To the east of Crete along the Hellenic Arc, strike-slip tectonics with some extension become important.[1]

The strongest earthquakes historically are those associated with the Hellenic Arc, although none larger than about 7.2 have been observed instrumentally. The events of AD 365 and 1303 are likely to have been much larger than this. In mainland Greece, normal faulting gives earthquakes up to 7 in magnitude, while in the northern Aegean, strike-slip events with a magnitude of 7.2 have been recorded. Large intermediate depth (>50 km) earthquakes of magnitude >7 from within the subducting African Plate have been recorded but such events cause little damage, although they are widely felt.[1]

Earthquakes[edit]

Date Place Lat Lon Deaths Mag. I Comments Sources
2017-07-21 Kos 36.57 27.27 2 6.6 Mw VII 150 people injured in Greece, 370 injured in Turkey
2017-06-12 Lesbos 38.93 26.37 1 6.3 Mw IX 10+ people injured, significant damage across parts of the island
2015-11-17 Lefkada 38.67 20.6 2 6.5 Mw VII Four injured [2]
2014-05-24 Limnos 38.11 23.60 1 6.9 Mw VIII
2009-07-01 Crete 34.14 25.29 6.4 Mw Minor
2008-07-15 Dodecanese 35.93 27.81 1 6.4 Mw VII
2008-06-08 Peloponnese 37.96 21.53 2 6.4 Mw VIII 240 injured
2006-01-08 Kythira 36.26 23.46 6.7 Mw VII Three injured
1999-09-07 Athens 38.06 23.51 143 6.0 Mw IX 1,600 injured / $3–4.2 billion in damage
1995-06-15 Aigio 38.40 22.28 26 6.5 Mw VII 60 injuries / $660 million in damage NGDC
1995-05-13 KozaniGrevena 40.15 21.70 6.6 Mw VIII 25 injured / $450 million in damage NGDC
1986-09-13 Kalamata 37.01 22.18 20+ 6.0 Mw X 300 injured / $5 million in damage [3]
1981-02-24 Gulf of Corinth 38.22 22.93 22 6.7 Ms VIII 400 injured / $812 million in damage [4]
1978-06-20 Thessaloniki 40.6 23.2 45–50 6.2 Mw VIII 100–220 injured
1968-02-19 Aegean Sea 39.37 25.96 20 7.2 Mw X Limited damage NGDC
1956-07-09 Dodecanese 36.67 25.957 53 7.7 Mw IX Triggered a tsunami that affected the entire Aegean Sea
1953-08-12 Cephalonia, Zakynthos 38.2 20.6 445–800 7.2 Ms X
1933-04-23 Kos 36.8 27.3 74 6.6 IX–X [5]
1932-09-26 Ierissos 39.8 23.8 491 7.0 Ms X Tsunami
1928-04-22 Corinth 38 23 20 6.0 Ms IX 3,000 homes destroyed / tsunami NGDC
1894-04-27 Atalanti 38.65 23.08 255 6.7 Mw XI Two earthquakes, 7days apart
1886-08-27 Filiatra 37.1 21.5 600 7.5 X Tsunami NGDC
1881-04-03 Chios, Çeşme, Alaçatı 38.25 26.25 7,866 6.5–7.3 XI
1867-03-07 Lesbos 39.2 26.4 500 7.0 NGDC
1867-02-04 Cephalonia 38.4 20.2 200 7.9 X NGDC
1856-10-12 Rhodes, Crete 35.5 26 538 XI 8,000 homes destroyed / tsunami NGDC
1840-10-30 Zakynthos 38 21 12 X NGDC
1810-02-16 Crete, Heraklion 35.5 25.6 2,000 7.5 Mw X
1481-05-03 Rhodes 36.0 28.0 30,000 7.1 Ms X
1303-08-08 Crete, Alexandria 35.0 27.0 Many thousands ~8 IX Triggered a major tsunami; severely damaged the Lighthouse of Alexandria
Dec 856 Corinth 37.9 22.9 45,000 [6]
515 Rhodes Ambraseys states that the death toll in this nighttime event was high and that the damage was severe [7]
365-07-21 Crete, Alexandria 35.0 23.0 Many thousands 8.5+ Raised part of Crete 9 metres, causing severe damage and triggering a tsunami that devastated Alexandria
226 BC Rhodes 36.43 28.21 Toppled the Colossus of Rhodes
426 BC Euboic Gulf 38.87 22.62 The historian Thucydides concluded that the tsunami was caused by the earthquake, the first to recognize such a link [8]
464 BC Sparta 37.08 22.43 ~20,000 7.2 Ms

References[edit]

Sources