An earthquake with 5.1 magnitude on the Richter scale hit the south coast of the island of Crete near the town of Moires, the Athens-based Institute of Geodynamics has announced. Minor material damages, but no injuries have been reported.
The earthquake occurred at 9.59 p.m. local time Thursday at a focal depth of 8.9 kilometers.
The earthquake caused damages to houses and offices.
Almost two hours after the tremor, a part of a balcony and the attached canopy in Kaminia area collapsed and it was a miracle that nobody was hurt.
A day earlier, a 4.2-maginitude tremor had occurred in the same area.
The mayor of Faistos, Grigoris Nikolidakis, told web site Cretalive that “locals have taken to the streets, but, at the moment, no damage has been registered.”
The mayor ordered the closure of schools in Faistos area on Friday, May 19, 2023.
Earthquakes of similar magnitude are far from rare in Greece, which lies in a region where the African plate is pushing the Eurasian plate to the north.
What seismologists say
President of Earthquake Prevention & Protection, Efthymios Lekkas, arrived in Moiras on Friday morning, holding a meeting with the Municipality of Phaistos, members of the Civil Protection and the Fire Service.
Lekkas reportedly pointed out that in the last two years there has been an increased activity in the so-called tectonic sinkhole of the prefecture of Heraklion which extends to the west and to the east.
The scientific data collected so far show, that “we are in a phase of stimulation,” Lekkas stressed.
He added that seismologists are closely monitoring the seismic development and it will take two more 24 hours for there to be safe conclusions.
However, he pointed out that it is encouraging that aftershocks are being recorded, which means that the energy forces in the area are being dissipated.
Although, he appeared optimistic, stressing that there is no major rift in the region, he warned that local authorities and the relevant mechanism should be in readiness.