Cyprus rocked by third quake in a month

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A 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook Cyprus Wednesday night, the third quake to be recorded on the island in less than a month; officials said there were no casualties.

Civil Defence said no serious structural damage or injuries was recorded following Wednesday’s quake.

The latest earthquake was recorded at 11.04 pm local time on Wednesday. It was most felt on the southwest coast of Paphos, and to a lesser extent, in the coastal resort of Limassol and the capital Nicosia.

The Cyprus Geological Survey Department said the earthquake’s epicentre was in the sea, 53 km west, northwest of Polis, at a depth of 24 kilometres.

It is believed to be an aftershock of the first quake, which struck on 11 January, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale in the same area.

Last month’s earthquake measuring 6.5 in magnitude was one of Cyprus’ strongest quakes ever recorded.

It was the biggest earthquake to shake the island since a 6.5 on the Richter scale quake struck Paphos in October 1996, when two people died – the strongest in the previous 100 years.

Another tremor in the same location on 28 January measured 4.5.

Cypriot authorities urged people to remain calm but vigilant, noting that the island is situated in a seismogenic zone where earthquakes are possible at any time.

The Director of the Geological Survey Department, Christodoulos Hadjigeorgiou, told the Cyprus News Agency that the latest quake is just one of a series of aftershocks since 11 January, which could last for three months.

He said Wednesday’s quake was also felt on the south coast of Turkey.

Hadjigeorgiou said experiencing regular tremors is a positive sign, as this means that seismic energy is being released without creating a big shock.

He said it is unusual to have aftershocks of this magnitude following an earthquake of 6.5.

“This does not entirely write off the possibility of a major earthquake at one of the active fault lines in the region.”

Civil Defence said no serious structural damage or injuries was recorded following Wednesday’s quake.

Limassol and Paphos police and fire departments had not received reports of serious damage.

Michaelidou said that in case of an earthquake, the Civil Defence activates a national plan dubbed “Engelados”, which involves 40 services, to deal with the effects of a large quake.

“The Civil Defense teams are ready to respond to any scenarios that may occur, such as search and rescuing people under rubble, to host people who may need temporary shelter, providing First Aid and supporting anyone in need.”

Cyprus lies in an active seismic zone where it’s estimated that 15% of the world’s earthquakes occur.