Aegean the best seismic lab

Earthquakes of over 8 on the Richter scale are the purest expression of these movements, according to Professor Costas Papazachos, who with his colleagues Giorgos Karakaisis, Vassilis Papazachos and Manolis Skordilis, drafted the map. Earthquakes, the result of the complicated interaction of the lithospheric plates, occur along various types of faults. The Mediterranean, particularly the Aegean, is characterized by high seismic activity, making it the best geophysics laboratory on the planet. Below its surface are at least 300 faults that have produced earthquakes of over 6 Richter. «Seismic activity is at low levels at the edge of the western Mediterranean, where there are converging forces. The central Mediterranean is more seismically active, due to the forces observed within the Apennines in Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea and because of the convergence of the Adriatic and Dalmatian coast,» explained Papazachos. «The most rapid plate movement and therefore the greatest seismic activity is in the eastern Mediterranean, where the Arabian peninsula is moving northward along the Dead Sea fault, producing a lateral pressure along the fault-line of eastern Anatolia on Turkey’s southeast borders. These movements are more frequent in Anatolia, which is moving westward toward the Aegean, the greatest activity being expressed in earthquakes along the Black Sea, such as that of Nicomedia in 1999.» The Aegean is also moving rapidly toward the southwest due to the combined influence of Anatolia and the subduction of the Mediterranean underneath the southern Aegean.