RHODES - the Sunshine Isle


  Greece & Earthquakes


Greece is one of the world's most seismically active countries, and lies across a complex boundary zone in the eastern Mediterranean, between the African tectonic plate and Eurasian tectonic plate.

However, modern Greek building regulations are generally reliably strict, and modern homes and buildings are designed to withstand the average major quake.  The complicated bit here is that Greece has additional criss-cross fault lines that snake this way and that, around and about the Aegean Greek islands, including Crete and Rhodes.

Kefallinia (Kefalonia/Cephalonia) island is one of the prime examples of a lively quake active area, and I can testify to the myriad of micro-quake jolts or shunts you can sense – especially when you are up on the top floor of a hotel.  You get used to it - its not an issue.  Having said that earthquakes proper, are no joke.

Always remember that earthquakes in Greece are actually quite rare, and although we should all get to know what to do when one strikes, we should never become so worried about such a possible event, that it ruins our stay. Enjoy Greece and enjoy life!


List of Extinct Volcanoes

Name Elevation Location Last eruption
meters feet Coordinates
Kos 430 1411 36.852°N 27.251°E Pleistocene
Methana 760 2493 37.615°N 23.336°E 258 BC
Milos 751 2464 36.699°N 24.439°E 140BC
Nisyros 698 2290 36.586°N 27.160°E 1888
Poros 80 240 37.499°N 23.457°E Pliocene
Santorini (Kolumbo) -18 -60 36.517°N 25.492°E 1650

Santorini (Nea Kameni) - There is a question mark over this one as many would say it was dormant - but for how long?

130 390 36.404°N 25.396°E


Yali 180 591 36.671°N 27.140°E Holocene


Department of Geophysics, in Athens, (English-language version) are a reliable source of information about Greek earthquakes and also the current seismic lay of the land.

The United States Geological Survey website offers a list of strong Earthquakes Around the World - any tremor striking Greece in the last seven days will be listed.


Recent Earthquakes

16 February 1810 22:15 Crete, Heraklion
1810 Crete earthquake
35.5 25.6 2,000 7.5 Mw
3 April 1881 11:30 Chios, Çeşme, Alaçatı
1881 Chios earthquake
38.25 26.25 7,866 6.5 Mw
26 September 1932 19:20 Ierissos
1932 Ierissos earthquake
39.8 23.8 491 7.0

12 August 1953 09:24 Kefalonia, Zakynthos
1953 Ionian Earthquake
38.2 20.6 476 7.2 Ms
9 July 1956 03:11:39 Dodecanese 36.9 26.0 56 7.8 Ms Triggered a tsunami that affected the entire Aegean Sea
20 June 1978 11:04 Thessaloniki
1978 Thessaloniki earthquake

47 6.5 Mw
7 September 1999 11:56 Athens
1999 Athens earthquake
38.11 23.60 143 6.0 Mw
8 January 2006 11:34 Kythira
2006 Southern Greece earthquake
36.30 23.36
6.8 Mw
8 June 2008 12:25 Peloponnese
2008 Peloponnese earthquake
38.029 21.464 2 6.5 Mw
15 July 2008 03:26 Dodecanese
2008 Dodecanese earthquake
35.80 27.86 1 6.4 Mw




FIMA offer the following advice from their excellent website:


What to Do During an Earthquake


Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually fore-shocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

If indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.

If outdoors

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a moving vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If trapped under debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.


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