Double moderate earthquake shakes Athens

Two earthquakes measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale were recorded at 1:05 and 1:09 on Tuesday, 80 kilometres north-northwest of Athens.

According to the Geodynamics Institute of the Athens Observatory and the Geophysics Lab of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the quake’s epicentre was located 27 km northwest of the city of Halkida.

A series of aftershocks measuring just over 3 Richter followed.

The quakes were stongly felt in the wider area of Athens and in the regions of Viotia, Evia and Fthiotida.

Professor of Geology and President of Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization Efthimios Lekkas wrote to his Twitter that the epicenter of the quake was located south of north Evoikos Gulf at the rear of Atalanti rift. He also stated the double seismic activity derived from an underwater rift for which the scientists don’t know its exact dimension and for this particular reason are closely monitoring the phenomenon.

Seismologists said that the post quake activity does not raise serious concern given that the specific phenomenon has been observed in the past and they consider positive the series of aftershocks, as it is a sign of defusion of the seismic activity.

No damages or injuries have been reported.

A new 5 Richter quake can’t be ruled out, professor of Geology Efthimios Lekkas tells ANA-MPA

“A new tremor below 5 on the Richter scale cannot be ruled out,” professor of Dynamic Tectonic Applied Geology of the Kapodistrian University of Athens and President of Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization Efthimios Lekkas said in an interview with ANA-MPA on Tuesday.

“A quake of the same magnitude is probable, but what I believe more probable is a quake of 4.7-4.8 on the Richter scale from the same area of the double quake. It will also be very positive if we have a series of aftershocks so that the seismic procedure fades out,” Lekkas estimated.

The professor of Geology in Athens University noted that the double quake was triggered by the activation of small, nearby to Atalanti fault, rifts which do not have the “power to give quakes of high magnitude. Conclusively what we expect is light quakes that may reach 5.2 to 5.3 on the Richter scale. It is very positive the fact that the seismic energy is de-escalating by a string of aftershocks.”

Lekkas noted that we should not expect a strong earthquake from the Atalanti fault in the next seven to nine centuries. ” The Atalanti fault gave a strong shock 110 years ago in 1894. The fault fills with energy every 700-900 years, therefore we have lots of time ahead of us until the Atalanti fault activates again,” he said.

The director of Geodynamics Institute Akis Tselentis on Tuesday did not rule out the possibility of a stronger quake from the area of the Evian Gulf.

“People should be cautious, because the area that gave the double 5.3 Richter quake early Tuesday is very big and of high seismic activity,” he said. However, Tselentis clarified that the quake’s epicentre is not related to the Atalanti fault but, it is very close to it. He also estimated that quakes as those recorded on Monday can’t activate the Atalanti fault.

The reseach director of Geodynamics Institute Giorgos Drakatos shares the same opinion, estimating that the epicentre of the 5.3 Richter double quake is not on Atalanti fault but at a bit southern.

“We have no indication of an imminent strong tremor from the Evian Gulf seismic zone,” said emeritus professor of Seismology Vassilios Papazahos. “The whole country is an earthquake-prone area and for this reason we must learn to live with the quakes,” he said adding “we, seismologists, make only estimations”.

In contrast, Papazahos’ son, professor of seismology Costas Papazahos, agreed with Tselentis’ line saying that he does not rule out the possibility the 5.1 quake not to be the main shock and that we should be cautious over the next days.

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