NEWS

Inspections being carried out after Friday's Athens quake

YANNIS PALAIOLOGOS, TANIA GEORGIOPOULOU

TAGS: Earthquake

Athens was jolted on Friday by a tremor measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale which, due to its shallow depth between 12 and 15 kilometers, was felt quite intensely by residents in the Greek capital and visitors.

Nonetheless, there were no reports of serious damages or injuries from the earthquake, whose epicenter was some 3 kilometers from the town of Magoula in western Attica.

“There were no serious problems to basic infrastructure and no serious injuries,” the General Secretariat for Civil Protection announced, adding that the services of the Infrastructure Ministry, in cooperation with the municipalities, were conducting post-earthquake inspections of buildings in order to assess any damage and to examine their structural stability.

It also urged residents who have identified any problems to their homes or in other buildings to contact their local authorities.

Regarding whether the quake was the main tremor, experts opined Friday that it was too early to make a safe assessment.

“It is too early to say whether it is the main earthquake,” Gerasimos Papadopoulos, director of research at the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens, told Kathimerini shortly after the event.

When we will know, he said, “is not clear.” “This depends on nature. It is beyond our control,” he added.

According to Papadopoulos, there are many criteria that must be assessed by seismologists to determine whether Friday’s was indeed the main quake.

“The basic criteria relate to how the aftershocks are distributed over time and how their force develops. If their frequency lessens and their intensity decreases, it will show us that (Friday’s) earthquake was indeed the ‘big one.’ But to determine this we will need 50, 60 or more aftershocks.”

He also said that the fault line of Friday’s quake was most likely the same as that which produced the 5.9-Richter tremor in 1999.

Asked if the quake was linked to the fault lines in the Gulf of Corinth in southern Greece, Papadopoulos was reassuring. “They (the faults) are not strong enough to stimulate adjacent faults,” he said.

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