Seismologist advances on short-term prediction of quakes, preparation

The short-term prediction of earthquakes is feasible, reiterated Vassilis Papazachos, seismology professor and supervisor of the Geophysics Lab at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, on Thursday. The renowned scientist was speaking from the podium of the ninth annual international conference of the Greek Geological Society, which ended yesterday. One of the most recent cases where the methodology for short-term earthquake prognosis was performed is in the case of Skyros, the island that was rattled by a moderate earthquake on July 26. Based on our knowledge of active tectonics in the greater area of the Aegean and other seismological observations, it was found that the occurrence of strong earthquakes could be anticipated along the northern border of the minor fault in the Aegean, following the major earthquake at Nicomedia (Izmit), Papazachos noted. Moreover, with the methods that have recently been developed with regard to accelerated seismic displacement of the crust prior to powerful earthquakes, the presence of such a displacement was detected on the western side of the Northern Aegean. In addition, the basic parameters of the earthquake on Skyros were within the area, time and scale limits that had already been defined 10 months prior to the earthquake’s occurrence. Also noteworthy were the observations presented at the conference by Gerasimos Papadopoulos, seismology researcher at the Geodynamics Institute of Athens, who declared that the destructive earthquake of Athens in 1999 was caused by the deformation of the Phylis Rift, and not that of Mount Parnitha as was initially believed. The seismographic data didn’t leave much room for doubt over the geometry of the rift, but rather which rift it was, Papadopoulos stated. After observation and specifically after a shift of 3-6 inches by the Phylis Rift, which was generated by the tectonic plates, it was concluded that this specific rift caused the basis for the earthquake.