An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale shook Athens at 14:13 on Friday afternoon. The epicentre of the quake, according to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki professor of seismology Costas Papazachos was located in the Parnitha mountain range, above the Attica towns of Mandra and Magoula.
The quake had a shallow focal depth of 12 km, according to the EuroMediterranean Seismic Centre, which meant it had a high intensity and roar that was especially strongly felt in Athens, Papazachos said, noting that the earthquake was from the same rift as the earthquake that shook the Greek capital in 1999. He advised the public to stay calm and warned that there will be a number of aftershocks.
According to the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens, the strong quake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale had an epicentre 23 km northwest of Athens.
Seismology professor Efthymios Lekkas said that the quake was felt throughout Attica and central Greece, while seismologists are still investigating whether it originated in the same rift that caused the lethal 1999 earthquakes (measuring 5.9 Richter) or one of its offshoots.
According to initial reports, there are reports of cracks in houses in the Mandra area but no injuries or deaths so far.
Immediately after the earthquake, the fire brigade went on alert and a super-puma helicopter was launched, together with a coordination helicopter, to patrol the western Attica region and report on any damage in the area. Fire brigade and Greek police forces have been deployed in the area to assist the public.
A scheduled meeting between Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis and European Commissioner Christos Stylianides on Friday was cancelled due to the earthquake. Chrisochoidis left for the Fire Brigade operations centre.
According to earthquake scientist Akis Tselentis, the 5.1-Richter quake was probably the main tremor an a number of aftershocks will follow. He said the quake originated in a part of the western rift of the Parnitha mountain range that had not been expected to produce an earthquake, placing its epicentre 25 km west northwest of Athens.