Greek island of Crete rocked by second earthquake in two weeks

Underwater 6.3-magnitude quake released ‘small tsunami’ with warning to avoid coastal areas

A powerful earthquake, the second in just over two weeks, has rocked Crete, prompting “a small tsunami” in the south of the Greek island and an evacuation alert.

The quake, which was felt as far away as Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, had a magnitude of 6.3, according to the Geodynamic Institute in Athens. There were no immediate reports of casualties or injuries although rockslides were widespread.

“The quake was felt all over the island,” Crete’s deputy regional governor, Yiannis Leondarakis, told the state-run broadcaster ERT. “And it did cause concern because we are still feeling the aftershocks from the previous quake.”

An hour after the underwater quake hit at 12:24pm local time, the Greek seismologist Gerassimos Papadopoulos released a graph depicting a tsunami off the island’s southern shores.

“A small tsunami is under way in southern Crete,” he wrote. “Keep away from coastal [areas].”

The quake was followed by aftershocks of 4.1 and 4.5 magnitude. Experts said the force of the quake – recorded at a sea depth of 2km, 14 miles east of the village of Zakros in eastern Crete – was intensified by its shallowness. Footage uploaded on social media showed people rushing out of their homes, office buildings and shops as it struck, with locals saying it jolted the island for at least 20 seconds.

Witnesses described the sea receding from the shoreline before the quake struck. “The sea was sucked in, the rocks appeared and then the quake happened,” Alexandra Papathanasaki, a local community head told the news portal Newsit, citing a witness who saw the sea withdrawing from the coast.

A woman looks at her damaged house in Archontiko village on Crete, Greece, on 28 September after an earthquake struck the day before.
A woman looks at her damaged house in Archontiko village on Crete, Greece, on 28 September after an earthquake struck the day before. Photograph: Harry Nakos/AP

The civil protection ministry, which had ordered hundreds of tents to be erected for about 2,500 people left homeless when a 6.0 magnitude quake hit Crete on 27 September, immediately dispatched emergency disaster response units.

Teams of first responders were deployed to inspect buildings, archaeological sites and other monuments. Although residents were ordered to evacuate government buildings, damage was reportedly limited to the region of Sitia where a church collapsed and antiquities in the local museum were damaged.

Crete has been rattled by numerous aftershocks since the September quake, described as the largest to have struck on land in more than 60 years and “a bolt out of the blue” by seismologists.

Experts said they did not believe Tuesday’s tremor was related to the earlier quake, which caused extensive damage, killing one person, injuring scores and leaving countless homeless.


Helena Smith in Athens

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Earthquake hits Greek holiday island of Kefalonia – video

A strong earthquake hits the Greek holiday island of Kefalonia on Monday, causing damage to roads and buildings

04, Feb, 2014 @11:21 AM

Article image
6.0-magnitude earthquake shakes central Greece
Buildings collapse but no immediate reports of serious injury after midday tremor near Elassona

Helena Smith in Athens

03, Mar, 2021 @5:54 PM

Article image
Rescue teams search rubble after earthquake rocks Turkish coast and Greek islands
At least 27 reported dead and 800 injured in quake that hit İzmir in Turkey and Greek island of Samos

Bethan McKernan Turkey correspondent

31, Oct, 2020 @4:53 AM

Article image
Mexico and California rocked by earthquake
Two dead in border town of Mexicali as buidings shake and roads suffer major structural damage in 7.2 magnitude quake

Mark Tran and agencies

05, Apr, 2010 @9:15 AM

Sumatra, Indonesia rocked by earthquake - video

Thousands of homes are left damaged in Indonesia after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake

03, Jul, 2013 @8:15 AM

Article image
Refugee babies detained on Greek island 'not getting adequate milk'
Asylum seekers being held in detention centre allege babies under six months old are being given just 100ml of milk a day

Patrick Kingsley Migration correspondent

19, Apr, 2016 @12:36 PM

Article image
Lesbos fears repeat of 2015 as refugees head for Greek island
Turkish decision to open doors for migrants to Europe risks overwhelming resources

Helena Smith in Mytilene, Lesbos

01, Mar, 2020 @7:31 PM

Article image
Firefighters battling wildfires to save homes on Greek island of Evia
Almost 900 firefighters fighting what the Greek prime minister called ‘a natural disaster of unprecedented dimensions’

Helena Smith in Athens

10, Aug, 2021 @1:29 PM

Article image
Far-right group attacks refugee camp on Greek island of Chios
Dozens of people flee Souda camp with at least two wounded after molotov cocktails and rocks thrown at tents and occupants

Helena Smith in Athens and Patrick Kingsley

18, Nov, 2016 @8:20 PM

Article image
EU urged to evacuate asylum seekers from cramped Greek island camps
Calls for evacuation of 42,000 people to prevent ‘many deaths’ from coronavirus

Jennifer Rankin in Brussels and Helena Smith in Athens

24, Mar, 2020 @1:39 PM