Earthquake near Athens unrelated to Turkish event

September 07, 1999

Note to editors: As more information is received and the data are further analyzed, we may issue updates or clarifications on this event.

The moderate earthquake, preliminary magnitude 5.8 according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which occurred in Greece at 7:57 am Eastern Daylight Time, or 2:57 pm local time today, Sept. 7, is unrelated to the earthquake that occurred near Ismit, Turkey, on Aug. 17. The epicenter of today's earthquake was about 15 miles north northwest of Athens. The USGS has received reports of deaths from this event, and damage around Athens.

According to USGS scientists, today's earthquake occurred along a "normal" fault. In this type of faulting, movement is primarily vertical. Turkey's earthquake was produced along a "strike-slip" fault, the North Anatolian fault, in which movement is primarily lateral.

The area around Athens has a long history of earthquakes. The most recent damaging earthquakes occurred here on March 4, 1981, and March 7 -- three days later. Seismometers at the USGS in Golden, CO measured these earthquakes at magnitudes 6.4 and 5.5 respectively. Each of these events caused damage and one death.

About 1200 moderate earthquakes (magnitude 5.0-5.9) occur each year throughout the world, according to data compiled since 1900. Through August this year, about 576 moderate earthquakes were recorded in the world.
As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the conservation and the sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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US Geological Survey

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