Greece: Most Severe Earthquakes, by magnitude
EarthquakeMagnitude on the Richter scale
Dodecanese (1956)7.7
Aegean Sea (Lesbos, Skiros, 1981)7.5
Lixouri-Argostoli (Kephallenia, 1953)7.2
Aegean Sea (St. Eustratios, 1968)7.2
Ionian Sea (1983)7.2
Greece (1965)7.1
Aegean Sea (1983)7.0
Sophades (Karditsa, 1954)7.0
Greece (1954)7.0
Stephanovikion-Velestnon (Magnesia, 1957)7.0
Greece, Turkey (2014)6.9
Ionian Sea (Zakynthos, Strofades, 2018)6.8
Asprogerakas (Kephallenia, 1953)6.8
S. Greece (1962)6.8
Aegean Sea (1956)6.8
Southern (2006)6.7
Athens-Eastern Gulf Of Corinth (1981)6.7
Crete (2020)6.6
Grevena-Kozani, Thessaloniki, Yugoslavia (1995)6.6
Ionian Sea, Amalias, Gargalianoi, Kalamai (1997)6.6
Crete (Chania, 2013)6.6
  • Region: Greece
  • Time period: 1950 to 2023
  • Published: 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

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

Magnitude and Frequency of Earthquakes in Greece

The Dodecanese earthquake in 1956 holds the record for the highest magnitude at 7.7, distinguishing it as the most powerful earthquake in the dataset. Following closely, the Aegean Sea earthquake near Lesbos and Skiros in 1981 had a magnitude of 7.5. These figures underscore the significant seismic activity in Greece, highlighting the region's vulnerability to high-magnitude earthquakes.

Regional Distribution of Seismic Events

The Aegean Sea emerges as a notable hotspot for seismic activity, hosting four of the major earthquakes listed, with magnitudes ranging from 6.8 to 7.5. This concentration of earthquakes in the Aegean Sea, alongside the 1956 Dodecanese and 1981 Lesbos and Skiros earthquakes, points to this area's significant geological instability.

Earthquake Magnitude Range in Greece

Magnitudes of the recorded earthquakes span from 6.6 to 7.7, with fifteen earthquakes having magnitudes of 7.0 or higher. This distribution demonstrates Greece's susceptibility to severe seismic events, with a considerable number of earthquakes reaching magnitudes that can cause widespread damage and pose substantial risks to safety and infrastructure.

Temporal Spread of Earthquakes

The data spans a period from 1953 to 2020, showing an enduring seismic risk over nearly seven decades. The earthquakes in the 1950s, especially in 1953 with three significant tremors, underline a decade of notable seismic activity. Meanwhile, the most recent significant earthquake recorded in Crete in 2020 with a magnitude of 6.6 suggests that the seismic threat in Greece remains a current concern.

Seismic Activity in Relation to Urban Areas

The Athens-Eastern Gulf Of Corinth earthquake in 1981 and the Crete earthquakes in 2013 and 2020, with magnitudes of 6.7 and 6.6 respectively, draw attention to the seismic threats facing populated and culturally significant regions. These events underscore the importance of earthquake preparedness and resilient infrastructure in urban areas vulnerable to seismic hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions

What were the strongest recorded earthquakes in Greece?

The strongest earthquakes in Greece were the Dodecanese earthquake in 1956 with a magnitude of 7.7 and the Aegean Sea earthquake near Lesbos and Skiros in 1981 with a magnitude of 7.5.

Which region in Greece is noted for significant seismic activity?

The Aegean Sea is a significant hotspot for seismic activity in Greece, hosting four major earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.8 to 7.5.

Terms and Definitions

An earthquake is a sudden shaking of the earth's surface due to the release of stress accumulated along geological faults or by volcanic activity. It is typically measured using Richter scale or moment magnitude scale.

Magnitude refers to the measure of the size or energy released by an earthquake. The magnitude value is a numerical representation of the amplitude of the seismic waves produced by the earthquake's source.

The Richter scale is a logarithmic scale used to express the total amount of energy released by an earthquake. Named after Charles F. Richter, it is often used to compare the severity of different earthquakes.

Moment Magnitude Scale is a method used to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. It is considered a more accurate and reliable measurement, particularly for very large earthquakes, as compared to the Richter Scale.

Seismic waves are the waves of energy generated by an earthquake. These waves travel through the earth’s layers and are what cause the ground to shake during an earthquake.

A fault is a break or crack in the earth’s crust where movement has occurred. Earthquakes often happen along these faults due to the tectonic forces causing the rocks on either side of the fault to move.

The epicenter is the location on the earth's surface directly above the hypocenter, or the point where an earthquake originates in the earth’s crust. It is often the area most impacted by an earthquake.

The hypocenter, also known as the focus, is the point within the earth where an earthquake rupture starts. The epicenter is the point directly above it at the surface of the earth.

An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that follows the main shock of a larger earthquake. Aftershocks occur in the same area as the main shock and can continue for days, weeks, or even months after the initial earthquake.
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