The seabed of the Aegean conceals 19 active seismic faults measuring over seven kilometres each, which can generate strong earthquakes from 6.1 to 7.4 on the Richter scale, according to new research by a group of Greek scientists.
The team, led by Geology professor Dimitris Papanikolaou of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), says that eight of the faults discovered between the islands of Skyros, Lesvos and Aghios Efstratios are capable of causing strong quakes over 7.0 on the Richter scale.
Only three of the 19 faults were previously known and included in the list of earthquake fault lines.
Seismologists believe that “the potential risk in the region has been underestimated,” adding that “these faults can potentially cause strong, destructive earthquakes.”
In their article published in the magazine “Marine Geology”, the researchers noted that apart from the Aghios Efstratios fault that was active in 1968 and caused a 7.1 earthquake killing 20 people, the rest of the 19 faults might be active as well, and possibly cause quakes ranging from 6.1-7.3 on the Richter scale.
The scientists stress however that it is impossible to predict whether this would occur a few years, or decades, into the future.
The study completes earlier research of the seabed in the northern Aegean, between the Sporades islands’ complex, Limnos and Halkidiki, which was conducted and published by the same team in the 2000s.
(With information from AMNA)