Tuesday 30 October 2018

Magnitude 4.9 Earthquake off the southeast coast of Cyprus.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.9 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km roughly 40 km off the southeast coast of Cyprus slightly after 2.10 pm local time (slightly after 12.10 pm GMT) on Monday 29 October 2018. There are no reports of any serious damage or injuries from this quake, but it was felt across much of Cyprus.

The approximate location of the 29 October 2018 Cyprus Earthquake. USGS.

The Island of Cyprus overlies the boundary between the Anatolian Plate, which underlies Anatolia, and the African Plate, which underlies most of the Mediterranean. The African Plate is moving northward relative to the Anatolian Plate, and is being subducted beneath it along the Cyprian Trench, which runs to the south of Cyprus. This is not a smooth process, as the plates frequently stick together then break apart once the pressure has built up sufficiently, leading to (fairly frequent) Earthquakes.

To the east the Arabian Plate  is being pushed north and west by the movement of the African Plate, further to the south. This leads to a zone of tectonic activity within the province, as the Arabian and Anatolian plates are pushed together, along the East Anatolian Fault, and past one-another, along the Dead Sea Transform.

 Simplified map of the plate movements of the eastern Mediterranean. Univeriteit Utrecht.
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.

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