Earthquakes in Greece: the most active and consequently with the greatest seismicity are the faults of the Ionian Sea and mainly those between Lefkada , Kefalonia and Zakynthos 

First in Europe and seventh in the world in seismicity is the Greek area , which is scattered by faults in both the mainland and the sea. Many of them are active, but most are very periodic, even hundreds of years old, in causing earthquakes .

When the faults of the mainland Greece cause a big earthquake, they usually range between 6-6.5 degrees on the Richter scale and cause a lot of damage locally. Submarine faults are larger, giving stronger large earthquakes (up to 7.5 Richter) , however, due to their long distance from residential areas and often due to their great focal depth, they usually do not cause major damage . The majority of earthquakes they cause are mainly of interest to scientists and people quickly forget about them.

The seismic regulation in Greece is very good

The good news for Greece is that they are caused by the least damage in the world after the seismic energy call, while the same is true for the number of deaths , which is one of the lowest in the world. This is due to the fact that earthquakes in Greece do not have much seismic acceleration , ie are characterized by scientists as softer, while our country has one of the best seismic regulations in the world, in terms of construction of buildings.

The above was mentioned to by the emeritus professor of Earthquake Geology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki , Spyros Pavlidis , who for many years studied and recorded all the faults in Greece.

” We scientists are not worried about anything, but we are worried about everything at the same time . Both the land and sea Greek area are scattered by cracks. After all, the creation of Greek Polynesia is due to the activity of the faults in the last two million years. It does not mean that all faults are active, however, among them there are many active. It is a fact that in recent years a more intense seismic activity has been recorded in our area . Suffice it to mention the relatively recent major earthquakes of Lesvos , Samos and now Crete . The great earthquake in Albania is also recent”, where the extension of the Pindos faults reaches”, notes Mr. Pavlidis to

He proceeds to a recording on of the most important and most active faults in the whole of Greece.

The fault of the largest earthquake in Europe in the 20th century and the difficult is the Ionian 

According to the Emeritus Professor of Earthquake Geology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in the Aegean Sea is the fault that gave the strongest earthquake in the 20th century in Europe and is therefore considered one of the most important in Greece. This is the submarine fault Amorgos – Santorini , which caused a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in July 1956.

However, the most active and consequently with the greatest seismicity are the faults of the Ionian Sea and mainly those between Lefkada , Kefalonia and Zakynthos . These very often cause small earthquakes but also large earthquakes with a periodicity of a few tens of years, some of which can reach up to 7 Richter.

Very large faults, which give very large submarine earthquakes, are located south of Crete but also in the part between Crete and Rhodes . Fortunately, however, they are noted in ditches at very great depths, up to 4,500 meters, but also far from residential areas. For this reason, they do not cause much concern to the citizens. “The case of the earthquake that occurred in 2020 in the submarine fault of Ierapetra is typical. It happened at a very great depth and very far from residential areas and that is why the residents did not feel it strongly and no damage was caused “, says Mr. Pavlidis.

The moat of the North Aegean and the impressive “workshop” of the Corinthian 

Some of the most important faults in Greece are located in the North Aegean . This is the so-called Trench of the North Aegean , which is a continuation of the highly seismic fault of Northern Anatolia . The Trench of the North Aegean is underwater and extends south of Halkidiki , north of the Northern Sporades, south of Samothrace and north of Imvros  and Lemnos . It has the potential for strong earthquakes of magnitude up to 6.5-7 on the Richter scale, however, because it is also far from residential areas, its strong earthquakes do not cause major damage. According to Mr. Pavlidis, the exception is the earthquake of 1905, which occurred at the tip of the peninsula of Mount Athos.

An area with very high seismicity is the widest of the Corinthian Gulf, both in its submarine part and in the Northern Peloponnese. In fact, Mr. Pavlidis characterizes the Corinthian as an ” impressive natural laboratory “, which gives large earthquakes between 6.5 and 6.7 Richter.

Also, large earthquakes between 6-6.7 on the Richter scale give the Lesvos fault (last major earthquake on June 12, 2017 in Vrisa, magnitude 6.3), which is an extension of that of Northern Anatolia, as well as the faults in areas of Chios and Samos (last major earthquake on October 30, 2020, magnitude 6.7).

Cracks in the mainland

In mainland Greece, among the largest faults but with great periodicity in the occurrence of earthquakes are considered those of Central Macedonia and more specifically the faults of Doirani , Kerkini , Migdonia , Ierissos and Thessaloniki . The Valandovo rift in neighboring Northern Macedonia is directly related to them.. The faults of the greater Thessaloniki area have given strong earthquakes, in 1902 but also the most recent of June 20, 1978, which was 6.5 on the Richter scale and resulted in 49 people losing their lives. Earthquakes from the faults of the greater Thessaloniki area have a ceiling of 6.5 on the Richter scale, with the exception of 1932, focusing on Stratoni, which reached 6.9 degrees.

A big rift in Northern Greece is considered this between Xanthi and Komotini , which gives strong earthquakes, but with a very long period of recurrence. “It is characteristic that a large earthquake has been recorded in the area since the 18th century”, says Mr. Pavlidis         

In Western Macedonia, a significant rift but with a period of recurrence of earthquakes of at least 300 years, is considered south of Grevena . This was given by the earthquake in Kozani on May 13, 1995, which had a magnitude of 6.1. In the same area, the faults north of Kastoria are considered more active , on the Greek-Albanian border but also in the area of Korytsa , whose large earthquakes reach up to 6 on the Richter scale.

Finally, Thessaly and mainly its southern part has a historic earthquake in the 20th century , with the main earthquake being that of Sofades in 1954, which had a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale. In general, the faults of Thessaly, when they give big earthquakes, range between 6-6.5 degrees on the Richter scale. Regarding the last earthquake of Thessaly, the one that took place on March 3, 2021, focused on the area of ​​Elassona and a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale, Mr. Pavlidis notes that it was not caused by the well-known Tyrnavos fault, but by a hitherto unknown fault. “Despite the fact that we say that we have recorded and that we know the faults well, nature often surprises us”, notes Mr. Pavlidis.

Source –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!