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Greek Island Holidays

Earthquakes in the Greek Islands

Expect a tremor when you go on holiday.

Many holiday visitors to the Greek Islands will have experienced an earth tremor or two on their travels. After all, Greece is considered the most quake-prone country in Europe with about half of all reported annual earthquakes occurring in Greece or the Aegean Sea. Not many will remember the great 1953 earthquake that struck the Ionian islands.

There were more than 113 recorded earthquakes in the region between Kefalonia and Zakynthos with the biggest on August 12.

It measured an enormous 7.2 on the Richter Scale and it raised the whole island of Kefalonia by 60 cm as well as causing widespread damage across both Kefalonia and neighbouring Zante.

There have been earthquakes on and off in the Greek Ionian islands ever since with a moderate 4.6 tremor recorded in 2013, too small to cause much damage but strong enough to shake the ground.

The year 2013 was notable for quite a deal of seismic activity, albeit at a low key level, with a fairly strong 5.6 recorded in the sea off the south coast of Crete and a 5.3 quake on the mainland to the north-west of Athens.

The suburbs of Athens were hit by a severe quake in 1999 that demolished some of the city's older buildings. More than 100 houses collapsed and more than 100 people died.

Although most Greek tremors are relatively mild there is always the chance of a more severe quake and most modern Greek buildings are built to withstand shocks.

Most of Greece, including the Greek islands, is located in a square box of fault lines with the whole of the local plate slowly sinking into the Mediterranean, a process that will take many thousand of years.

Many of the tremors felt on Greek islands have their epicentres underwater in the offshore seas. While they can be felt on nearby islands they rarely cause much damage.

As well as earthquakes there is the possibility of eruptions from still active volcanoes, notably on the island of Nysiros, near Kos, and thought by some experts to be overdue for a major eruption.

They don't stop holidaymakers booking Greek Island holidays each year oblivious to any danger.

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