Earthquakes nothing out of ordinary

THESSALONIKI – Seismologists are expecting more strong earthquakes in the Ionian Sea – not as a follow-up to Thursday’s quake in Lefkada – given that the area around the islands of Lefkada, Zakynthos and Cephalonia is the most seismically active area not only in Greece, but from Gibraltar to China, according to Vassilis Papazachos, honorary professor of geophysics at Thessaloniki University. Greece is sixth on the list of countries with the highest level of seismic activity, after Japan, the New Hebrides, Peru, the Solomon Islands and Chile. «It is natural that we should expect more strong earthquakes in the future,» Papazachos told Kathimerini. «Of course, in the seismic protection regulations this particular area is classified among the most dangerous. This is not enough, however, to protect the Ionian islands. The state should subsidize a special program of applied research. Such subsidies do not constitute privileged treatment for a particular area, but a natural outcome of the fact that the area is highly seismic,» he said. Thursday’s earthquake occurred in the Lefkadas fault, which is 40 kilometers long and 15 kilometers below the surface, west of the island. «The residents of Lefkada will have to beware of landslides,» warned Papazachos. The most powerful recorded earthquakes in this faultline have occurred in 1825 (6.7 Richter, killing 24 people), 1869 (6.6 Richter, 15 killed), 1914 (6.3 Richter, 16 killed) and 1948 (6.5 Richter, 10 killed).