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Tue, Jul 22, 2014
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Earthquakes

Recent Earthquake Activity in Crete, Greece

When I first moved to Crete some years ago, I was always being asked about earthquakes from friends and family back home in UK. In all the time since, even though Greece is located in an area known for its seismic activity, I can report that there have only been one or two tremors that have caused concern and temporarily affected daily life.

The most recent "big one" that affected Crete struck on October 12, 2013 at 4.12pm local time - siesta hour - with a 6.3 on the Richter scale and an epicentre  some 68 kms west of the city of Chania and 23kms deep under the Mediterranean sea .  The quake's extreme depth in the Earth's crust is probably reason enough for the limited real damage done to property or buildings and only very minor injuries suffered by residents of western Crete. In assessing the limited damage from the quake, several supermarkets were a bit of mess after articles came flying off the shelves.  In addition, several Cretans round Sfakia mentioned they felt shaken in their beds as they took their afternoon nap. No serious injuries were reported.

In seismic terms Crete has got off light with limited damage in recent years. Much of the reason is in the high standard of safety applied to the Building Codes, public awareness, efficient emergency crews and good communications.

The same can be said for Athens and others areas of mainland Greece to the north of Crete located on different fault lines that have come in for a greater share of the stronger tremors.  In fact, you need to go back to the year 1999 for the deadliest earthquake in recent times that struck close to Greek capital with a 5.9 magnitude tremor. It resulted in 143 people dead, 110 collapsed buildings and more than 5,000 buildings severely damaged.

Note: The Earthquake map below shows 'real time' activity. If you hover your cursor over any of the coloured dots you will get a day and time of the latest seismic activity in Crete and elsewhere in Greece. As mentioned earlier, please note how most of the intense activity occurs in Northern Greece especially the Northern Aegean Sea area.

Brits in Crete is grateful for the permission to use the real time earthquake feed of Greece and surrounding areas from the Institute of Dynamics at the National Observatory of Athens.