Saturday 27 October 2018

Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake beneath the Ionian Sea.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake at a depth of 14.0 km, beneath the Ionian Sea to the southwest of the island of Zakinthos, slightly before 1.55 am local time on Thursday 26 October 2018 (slightly before 10.55 pm on Thursday 25 October GMT) . No injuries have been reported following this event, but significant damage was reported to the Port of Zakynthos, and the medieval Strofades Monastery, on Stamfani Island to the southeast of Zakynthos, and people have reported feeling the event across Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Macedononia, Kosovo, southern Italy, Malta, and even on the coast of Libya.

Damage to the Port of Zakynthos following the 26 October 2018 Earthquake. Reuters.

The approximate location of the 26 October 2018 Ionian Sea Earthquake. USGS.

The Ionian Sea overlies the boundary between the Aegean Sea Plate, which underlies southern Greece, and the African Plate, which underlies most of the Mediterranean. The African Plate is moving northward relative to the Aegean Sea Plate, and is being subducted beneath it along the Hellenic Trench, which runs from the Ionian Sea to the south and west of the Peloponnese and then to the south of Crete. 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.
 The extent of the Hellenic Trench. Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica eVulcanologia.
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