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 Time‡ Place Lat Lon Deaths M I Comments Sources
464 BC Sparta 37.08 22.43 ~20,000 7.2 Ms
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 [2]
226 BC Rhodes 36.43 28.21 Toppled the Colossus of Rhodes
365-07-21 Sunrise 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
515 Rhodes Ambraseys states that the death toll in this nighttime event was high and that the damage was severe [3]
Dec 856 Corinth 37.9 22.9 45,000 [4]
1303-08-08 06:00 local Crete, Alexandria 35.0 27.0 Many thousands ~8 IX Triggered a major tsunami; severely damaged the Lighthouse of Alexandria
1481-05-03 03:00 Rhodes 36.0 28.0 30,000 7.1 Ms X
1810-02-16 22:15 Crete, Heraklion 35.5 25.6 2,000 7.5 Mw X
1840-10-30 Zakynthos 38 21 12 X NGDC
1856-10-12 00:45 Rhodes, Crete 35.5 26 538 XI 8,000 homes destroyed / tsunami NGDC
1867-02-04 03:00 Cephalonia 38.4 20.2 200 7.9 X NGDC
1867-03-07 14:00 Lesbos 39.2 26.4 500 7.0 NGDC
1881-04-03 11:30 Chios, Çeşme, Alaçatı 38.25 26.25 7,866 6.5 Mw [5]
1886-08-27 21:32 Filiatra 37.1 21.5 600 7.5 X Tsunami NGDC
1894-04-27 Atalanti 38.7 23.1 255 6.9 XI Two earthquakes, 7days apart NGDC
1932-09-26 19:20 Ierissos 39.8 23.8 491 7.0 [6]
1933-04-23 20:05 local Kos 36.8 27.3 74 6.6 IX–X [7]
1953-08-12 09:24 Cephalonia, Zakynthos 38.2 20.6 476 7.2 Ms [8]
1956-07-09 03:11:39 Dodecanese 36.664 25.957 56 7.7 Mw Triggered a tsunami that affected the entire Aegean Sea [9]
1978-06-20 11:04 Thessaloniki 40.74 23.23 47 6.5 Mw [10]
1981-02-24 20:53:38 Gulf of Corinth 38.22 22.93 22 6.7 Ms VIII [11]
1986-09-13 20:24:31 local Kalamata 37.01 22.18 20 6.0 Mw X [12]
1995-05-13 11:47 Grevena/Kozani, Western Macedonia 40.15 21.70 6.6 Mw VIII 25 injured / $450 million in damage NGDC
1999-09-07 11:56 Athens 38.11 23.60 143 6.0 Mw [13]
2006-01-08 11:34 Kythira 36.30 23.36 6.8 Mw [14]
2008-06-08 12:25 Peloponnese 38.03 21.46 2 6.5 Mw [15]
2008-07-15 03:26 Dodecanese 35.93 27.81 1 6.4 Mw VII
2009-07-01 12:30 Crete 34.14 25.29 6.4 Mw [16]
2014-05-24 12:25 Limnos 38.11 23.60 1 6.9 Mw VIII
2015-11-17 07:10 Lefkada 38.67 20.6 2 6.5 Mw VII [17]

Note ‡: Times are UTC unless where otherwise noted.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c USGS (29 March 2010). "Tectonic Summary of Greece". Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Antonopoulos, J. (1992). "The Tsunami of 426 BC in the Maliakos Gulf, Eastern Greece" (PDF). Natural Hazards. 5: 83–93. doi:10.1007/BF00127141. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Ambraseys, N. (2009). Earthquakes in the Mediterranean and Middle East: A Multidisciplinary Study of Seismicity up to 1900 (First ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 180. ISBN 978-0521872928. 
  4. ^ IISEENET (Information Network of Earthquake disaster Prevention Technologies) - Search Page
  5. ^ Altinok, Y.; Alpar B.; Özer N.; Gazioglu C. (2005). "1881 and 1949 earthquakes at the Chios-Cesme Strait (Aegean Sea) and their relation to tsunamis" (PDF). Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. 5 (5): 717–725. doi:10.5194/nhess-5-717-2005. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Pavlides, S.B.; Tranos M.D. (1991). "Structural characteristics of two strong earthquakes in the North Aegean: Ierissos (1932) and Agios Efstratios (1968)" (PDF). Journal of Structural Geology. 13 (2): 205–214. doi:10.1016/0191-8141(91)90067-s. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Utsu 2002, p. 705
  8. ^ Papazachos, B.C. (1996). "Large seismic faults in the Hellenic Arc" (PDF). Annali di Geofisica. 39: 891–903. 
  9. ^ NGDC. "Comments for the Significant Earthquake". Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  10. ^ CALTECH (19 February 2008). "The Salonica (Thessaloniki) Earthquake of June 20, 1978". Retrieved 1 December 2010. 
  11. ^ NGDC. "Comments for the Significant Earthquake". Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  12. ^ USGS. "M6.0 - southern Greece". United States Geological Survey. 
  13. ^ USGS (6 April 2004). "Magnitude 6.0 GREECE 1999 September 07 11:56:49 UTC". Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Magnitude 6.8 - Southern Greece: 8 January 2006 11:34:55 UTC", Earthquake Hazard Program, United States Geological Survey
  15. ^ USGS. "Magnitude 6.4 - GREECE 8 June 2008 12:25:30 UTC". Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "M6.4 - Crete, Greece". USGS. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  17. ^ USGS. "M6.5 - 10km WSW of Nidri, Greece". United States Geological Survey. 

Sources