This morning, four earthquakes shook the far-east of Crete island. The tremors occurred offshore of the ancient town of Zakros. Greece’s biggest island has been swamped recently with a series of large earthquakes, followed by dozens of aftershocks.
The first quake struck at 4:24 in the morning, with magnitude of 3.3 on the Richter scale, with the second quake taking place at 4:51, and registering 3.0 magnitude. Minutes later, at 5:17, another earthquake of a magnitude of 3.4 occurred. The last in this series of seismic events took place at 6:18 with a magnitude of 3.8, and at a shallow depth of 12.8km.
According to reports, only the last quake was felt by islanders, and no injuries or damage was reported. In the past seven days, aftershocks have rattled previously devastated Arkalochori and other Heraklion Prefecture villages, and the 6.4 magnitude event off Palekastro continues to produce after events. Four days ago a 4.6 magnitude quake shook Karpathos Island, east-north-east of Crete.
According to seismologists, the Arkalochori quake caused the entire village to sink by more than 15cm. That quake, was reportedly a mainshock, which was part of an earthquake swarm that began several months ago. Naturally, people here on the island fear these events are the precursor to a much larger event to come. Historically, their fears are not totally unfounded.
The most recent cataclysmic earthquake to hit Crete was the 1856 Heraklion cataclysm that is thought to have been a magnitude 8.3 quake. The 65km deep event was felt as far away as Sicily, and the shockwaves reached distant part of Turkey and even Egypt. More than 500 bodies were recovered in Heraklion alone, and destroyed untold buildings across a wide swath of the eastern Mediterranean.