So, for all of those who have been here for sometime I reckon you probably already know you’ve chosen to locate yourself in a fairly major earthquake zone. But if you didn’t, you had best read on….. 😉
But do you know just how many tremors are experienced in our location at any given time?
You can check them here on the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) display.
Below is an image of the most recent quakes around our “wobbly” island of Cyprus within the last 7 days 🙂
In recent times, one earthquake in September 1953 in the Paphos region caused considerable destruction and killed 63 people. Since then, there have been few severe ones with relatively little destruction and few fatalities.
Santamas (1988) reports that since 1900, Cyprus has been affected by approximately 800 earthquakes of magnitudes ranging from 4.0 – 7.0 on the Richter scale, 21 of which had magnitude ≥ 5. He concluded that there is a possibility of a potentially damaging earthquake will occur approximately every 12 years and a destructive earthquake every 25 years.
The earthquakes are caused by the African continent moving northwards and the tectonic plate colliding with the Eurasian and Anatolian plates. There appear to be three parallel fault lines. The most important one is the Anatolian fault running from Greece, through Istanbul and parallel with the North Coast of Turkey. South of this, there is a potential fault line running along the north side of the Troodos massif. This may have been responsible for the historic destruction of Nicosia and Salamis in the 4th c AD.
The one most likely to affect the island is the Cyprian arc. This runs roughly parallel to the South Coast of Cyprus, about 100 – 200 km offshore, with subduction under the island. It is an active fault and shock waves from it are the cause of most of the temblors that are felt in the Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca districts. (The Cyprian Arc is the pale yellow line marked by arrows depicted in the image below. You can see it runs directly below the southern end of Cyprus and continues along below southern end of the island of Crete).
More research on the earthquake risk assessment of Cyprus can be read here (.pdf link) as written by: Stella Kythreoti and Kypros Pilakouta.
Catashrophic Earthquake Data for Cyprus.