Powerful 6.8 Quake Hits Greece – Tremors Felt in Neighboring Albania and Italy

Tirana, Albania | 26 Oct 2018 (Tirana Echo) – A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake has struck the touristic Greek island of Zante in the Ionian Sea last night with tremors felt in mainland Greece and neighboring southern Albania and Italy.

Despite the sizeable 6.8 magnitude in the Richter scale, the island has escaped unscathed with only a few landslides and damages to old Byzantine monuments reported. A handful of people are being treated for minor injuries.

Following the tremors, Greece’s national institute of geophysics issued a tsunami warning asking people to stay away from coastal areas.

The US Geological Survey reported the depth of the quake to be at 16,6km preceded by an initial shock of 5.0 and then followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.

Smaller tremors have been reported overnight in neighboring Albania, Italy as well as in Malta and Libya.

Greece, Albania and Italy lie on major tectonic plates which spread across the Mediterranean basin and the Adriatic sea. Tremors are frequent but rarely cause death casualties.

In 2017 a 6.7 magnitude earthquake killed two persons in the Greek island of Kos while Zante itself was struck by a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake in 1953 leaving tens of hundreds dead and thousands wounded.

The island was left in ruins but has since become a top touristic hotspot in the Ionian Sea with Zakinthos in its southern part visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

Many of the quakes that strike Greece have their epicenters under the sea. While these can shake up surrounding islands, they rarely cause severe damage. The ancient Greeks attributed earthquakes to the God of the Sea, Poseidon, perhaps because so many of them were centered under the waters.

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