March 23, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Kostas Papazachos: “Earthquakes like this are possible and have already happened in Greece, we just don’t remember much about them”

Kostas Papazachos, professor of seismology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, is convinced: “At some point, we will experience an earthquake in Greece, similar to what happened in Turkey, and we will have to deal with the consequences.” He reminds:

“Earthquakes like this happened in Greece, we just don’t remember much about them because we have a relatively short memory.”

When asked whether an earthquake like the Turkish one could occur in Greece and whether it would have similar consequences, the professor replied that such earthquakes had already happened in Greece. He recalled earthquakes measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale on Amorgos in 1956 and 7.2 on Kefalonia in 1953.

He also mentioned an earthquake larger than Turkey’s in 365 AD in western Crete. Its magnitude was 8.2 on the Richter scale. The consequences were stunning: a seismic wave “raised the harbor at Falassarna by about 7 meters above sea level and half of Crete gradually from 7 to 1 meter, caused a huge tsunami that hit from Venice to the coast of Lebanon and Egypt, and great destruction throughout the Peloponnese and the region “. Papazachos emphasized:

“So we have such earthquakes in the Greek region, it should cause us concern: how we will react, and what will happen in the corresponding case. At some point we will experience such an earthquake with modern buildings, and we will have to deal with consequences.”

However, Kostas Papazachos specified that such earthquakes in Greece “usually have a limited impact, mainly because they occur in maritime areas.” When asked about the possibility of predicting an earthquake like in Turkey, the professor explained: “We cannot accurately predict when an earthquake will occur.”

He recalled similar earthquakes: in 1822, from 20,000 to 60,000 people died in Aleppo, and in 1939 in Erzijan, “on the fault of Northern Anatolia, closer to the fault of Eastern Anatolia, near their junction, about 35,000 people died and 100 000 were wounded.” papazachos notedthat such earthquakes are not unknown in this zone, “hence we know that at the level of centuries we have such earthquakes”:

“Especially at the end of the 19th century, we had about 4-5 of these earthquakes until the beginning of the 20th century, which destroyed a large part, in the most northeastern part of this particular fault. So there is no prediction here in the sense that we all understand: “the day after tomorrow there will be an earthquake, get out of the houses. “But we knew for sure that this area is experiencing very large accelerations and the official specifications were extremely strict.”

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