Greece: Most Fatal Earthquakes, by death toll
EarthquakeNumber of deaths
Lixouri-Argostoli (Kephallenia, 1953)476
Athens (1999)143
Dodecanese (1956)53
Thessaloniki (1978)50
Alonisos, Skopelos (1965)38
Southern Greece (1965)32
Sophades (Karditsa, 1954)31
Aiyion, Eratini (1995)26
Greece (1954)25
Athens-Eastern Gulf of Corinth (1981)22
  • Region: Greece
  • Time period: 1950 to 2023
  • Published: 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 6, 2024 | Published by: Statistico | About Us / Data / Analysis

Fatalities in the Lixouri-Argostoli Earthquake of 1953

The Lixouri-Argostoli earthquake in Kephallenia, occurring in 1953, holds the grim distinction of being the deadliest, with 476 deaths. This event alone accounts for a significant portion of the total fatalities listed, highlighting its severe impact on Greece's earthquake history.

Comparison of Fatalities Across Decades

A closer examination reveals a declining trend in earthquake fatalities over the years. From the 1950s to the 1990s, there is a noticeable decrease in the number of deaths. For instance, earthquakes in the 1950s, such as the Dodecanese (1956) and Sophades (Karditsa, 1954) earthquakes, resulted in 53 and 31 deaths respectively, compared to later events like the Aiyion, Eratini earthquake in 1995, which led to 26 deaths.

Impact of Earthquakes in Urban Areas

Urban areas, especially Athens, have been significantly affected by earthquakes. The Athens earthquake in 1999 resulted in 143 deaths, making it the second deadliest on the list. This underlines the heightened risk and potential for casualties in densely populated regions.

Least Deadly Earthquakes

The earthquakes with the lowest fatalities, such as the Athens-Eastern Gulf of Corinth in 1981 and Greece (1954), caused 22 and 25 deaths respectively. These events, while tragic, indicate instances where the impact was relatively contained, potentially due to factors such as location, magnitude, or effective emergency response.

Geographical Distribution of Fatal Earthquakes

The geographical spread of these earthquakes, from Kephallenia to the Dodecanese and mainland cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, illustrates the widespread seismic risk across Greece. Each region's distinct geological features contribute to the variance in earthquake impact and fatalities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadliest earthquake recorded in Greece's history?

The Lixouri-Argostoli earthquake in Kephallenia in 1953 is the deadliest, with 476 deaths.

Has there been a trend in earthquake fatalities in Greece over the years?

Yes, from the 1950s to 1990s, there has been a decrease in the number of deaths due to earthquakes.

Which urban area in Greece was significantly affected by earthquakes?

Athens has been significantly affected, with an earthquake in 1999 resulting in 143 deaths.

Terms and Definitions

An earthquake refers to the shaking of the Earth's surface caused by abrupt release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. This happens as a result of tectonic plate imbalances, volcanic activity and other geothermal-related mechanisms.

Seismic waves refer to the waves of energy created and released during an earthquake. They move through the Earth's layers, causing shaking or smaller tremors on the Earth's surface following an earthquake.

This is a logarithmic scale used to measure the amount of energy released during an earthquake, or its magnitude. It was developed by Charles F. Richter in 1935. The scale ranges from 0 to 10, but in practice, there is no upper limit to the potential size of earthquakes.

Tectonic plates are massive, irregularly shaped slabs of solid rock that make up the Earth's lithosphere. Their movement and interaction at their boundaries cause seismic activities like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that follows the main shock event of an earthquake. They occur closely in time and space to the initial earthquake and their strength gradually diminishes over time.

The epicenter is the point on the Earth's surface that lies vertically above the focus (point of origin) of an earthquake. This is usually where the most severe shaking and damage occurs during an earthquake.

Magnitude in relation to earthquakes indicates the size of an earthquake. It is determined using information from seismographs and is a measure of the amount of energy released during an earthquake.
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