The National Observatory’s Geodynamic Institute is keeping a close eye on increased seismic activity in Thiva – where more than 160 tremors have been recorded since Saturday afternoon – but sees no cause for undue alarm, its head of research said on Monday.
Addressing the concerns of the Viotia town’s rattled residents, Athanasios Ganas said it is possible the quakes – which have ranged in magnitude from 1 to 4.3 on the Richter scale – are foreshocks heralding a bigger event.
The situation, he said, “is unfolding smoothly” but “it is not certain how it will evolve, so we need to keep an eye on it for the next 48 hours.”
Referring to the rumbling residents have been hearing during these incidents, Ganas said this is due to their shallow.
“There’s a fault right below the town of Thiva that has been activated and can yield a big earthquake, of up to 6 Richter… The reason for the rumbling is that the epicenters are right beneath residents’ feet – they’re very shallow, at a depth of 3-6 kilometers,” he explained, adding that the town’s structures are built to code and are not considered at risk of collapsing in the case of a larger event.
Efthymios Lekkas, a geologist and head of the Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization also sought to downplay residents’ fears in comments to Skai TV on Monday.
“These are small faults being activated, which cannot yield a bigger earthquake or activate a bigger fault,” he said.
“To start really being worried, we need to go to strengths of over 6-7 Richter, which is extremely unlikely,” he added.
Thiva is located some 50 kilometers northwest of Athens.