Strong and shallow M6.8 earthquake hits near Zakynthos, Greece, strong aftershocks

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A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the EMSC as M6.8 hit under the Ionian Sea, west of Zakynthos, West Greece at 22:54 UTC on October 25, 2018 (01:54 local time, October 26). The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). USGS is reporting M6.8 at a depth of 14 km (8.7 miles). The quake was followed by 28 aftershocks, with magnitudes ranging from 3.8 to 5.2, over the next 12 hours. Greek Geodynamic Institute registered the strongest quake as M6.4.

The epicenter was located 33 km (21 miles) SW of Lithakia (population 1 307), 42 km (26 miles) SW of Zakynthos (population 11 541) and 77 km (48 miles) WSW of Amaliada (population 16 763), Ionian Sea, Greece.

There are about 230 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Some 52 000 people felt very strong shaking, 52 000 strong, 157 000 moderate, 827 000 light and 18 237 000 weak.

The USGS issued a Yellow alert for economic losses. Some damage is possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Greece. Past events with this alert level have required a local or regional level response.

A green alert was issued for shaking-related fatalities. There is a low likelihood of casualties.

West Greece earthquakes October 25 and 26, 2018. Credit: Google, EMSC, TW

Local authorities said there was some damage to the region, adding that nobody was injured. There were reports of destroyed buildings but they proved to be wrong. 

In 1953, the nearby island of Zakynthos was hit by a destructive M7.3 earthquake. Almost all buildings collapsed after that quake, forcing authorities to adopt strict building rules.

“Zakynthos has anti-seismic protection. There were only cracks inside homes and minor rockslides,” said Mayor Pavlos Kolokotsas.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: USGS, EMSC

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