Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Powerful Earthquake Hits Near Athens, Greece

Popular
Powerful Earthquake Hits Near Athens, Greece

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.


The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors seismic activity around the world, announced that the quake measured 5.3 on the Richter scale when it struck at 2:13 p.m. in Greece. The epicenter was just outside of Magoula, which is 14 miles northwest of Athens.

The Athens Institute of Geodynamics measured seven aftershocks. The largest was felt an hour after the initial tremor and registered a 4.3 magnitude, according to the BBC.

Several neighborhoods around the city lost power, but major tourist sites, including the Acropolis Museum, remained open but short-staffed since many employees were allowed to leave early, according to ABC News.

"There are no reports of serious injuries," said Stelios Petsas, a spokesman for the Greek government, as the AP reported. "I urge members of the public to remain calm, in Greece we are well acquainted with earthquakes."

He did say that one abandoned building collapsed in a western district of Athens. Several other abandoned buildings were damaged in other parts of the city.

"There is no reason for concern," said Efthymios Lekkas, the head of the anti-quake protection agency. "The capital's buildings are built to withstand a much stronger earthquake," he said, as the BBC reported.

Petsas also noted that cellular networks were temporarily jammed due to overloading, but they were restored to normal operation, which allowed several people to call the fire department to ask for help evacuating people stuck in elevators.

Greek reports noted that a woman was injured slightly by falling plaster, according to the BBC.

Videos posted to social media showed the quake happening, knocking bottles off of a dresser and shaking fans and lights.

Abigail Hill, a teacher at the British Council in Athens, said that she and her colleagues ducked under the tables.

"The room started trembling and we all realized that it wasn't stopping, so we got under tables, and the trembling continued for maybe another 30 seconds," she said, as the Independent reported.

"Then I heard sirens and everyone in the building, once it stopped swaying, started going down the stairs and everyone was in the streets, waiting to find out what was going on," she continued. "Now there's a big sense of relief that it seems there are no casualties and everyone is okay."

Gerasimos Papadopoulos, the senior seismologist at the Geodynamics Institute said Friday's quake was felt across the southern part of the country, according to the AP.

"It had a very shallow depth and that's why it was felt so strongly," he said. "It is too early to say whether this was the main earthquake, but there have been aftershocks of magnitude 3.5, 2.5 and 3.2 and that is encouraging. But we need more time and data to have a clear picture."

Residents who feared the worst might have memories of the last major earthquake to hit Athens — a 6.0 magnitude quake in 1999, which killed 143 people and caused extensive damage to Athens' infrastructure.

Greece is one of Europe's most earthquake-prone countries, due to its unique location at a meeting point for three massive plates of Earth's crust. The Eurasian, Arabic and African plates grind together under Greece, causing a network of fault lines.

In July 2017, a 6.7-magnitude quake struck the island of Kos. That quake killed two people, injured many others and damaged island's historic buildings, as CNN reported.

Lakota spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse attends a demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2015. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of his administration, a document reported by CBC on Sunday suggests.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Seabirds often follow fishing vessels to find easy meals. Alexander Petrov / TASS via Getty Images

By Jim Palardy

As 2021 dawns, people, ecosystems, and wildlife worldwide are facing a panoply of environmental issues. In an effort to help experts and policymakers determine where they might focus research, a panel of 25 scientists and practitioners — including me — from around the globe held discussions in the fall to identify emerging issues that deserve increased attention.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A damaged home and flooding are seen in Creole, Louisiana, following Hurricane Laura's landfall on August 27, 2020. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Elliott Negin

What a difference an election makes. Thanks to the Biden-Harris victory in November, the next administration is poised to make a 180-degree turn to again address the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
The new variant, known as B.1.1.7, spread quickly through southeastern England in December, causing case numbers to spike and triggering stricter lockdown measures. Hollie Adams / Getty Images

By Suresh Dhaniyala and Byron Erath

A fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has been found in at least 10 states, and people are wondering: How do I protect myself now?

Read More Show Less
A seagull flies in front of the Rampion offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Neil / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

A key part of the United States' clean energy transition has started to take shape, but you may need to squint to see it. About 2,000 wind turbines could be built far offshore, in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast, in the next 10 years. And more are expected.

Read More Show Less