Strong earthquake shakes central Greece, rattles neighboring countries


ATHENS, Greece (NewsNation Now) — An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck central Greece on Wednesday and was felt as far away as the capitals of neighboring Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

The quake sent people rushing out of homes and office buildings into the streets in the town of Larissa.  There were no immediate reports of injuries. Local officials reported some structural damage, mainly to old houses and buildings that saw walls collapse or crack.

Nikos Gatsas, mayor of the town of Elassona which lies north of the epicenter, told Greece’s state broadcaster ERT that walls of old houses had collapsed in nearby villages, and that one village school had sustained damage. All pupils had been evacuated from the building and there were no injuries.

The earthquake Wednesday had an epicenter 22 kilometers (13.67 miles) west-northwest of Larissa and struck just after 12:15 p.m. local time, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center. The U.S. Geological Survey also reported a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 while the seismological institute of the Aritotle University of Thessaloniki put the magnitude at 6.0.

It is common for magnitudes to vary between seismological institutes in the early hours after an earthquake.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said that the epicenter was 20 km south of the town of Elassona in central Greece.

Athens Geodynamic Institute seismologist Vassilis Karastathis told reporters that the quake originated in a fault line in the area that has historically not produced quakes of much larger magnitude than Wednesday’s. He said the post-quake activity appeared normal so far but experts were monitoring the situation.

Greek seismologist Vassilis Karathanasis told state television that the tremor was felt across Greece.

Numerous aftershocks rattled the area, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9.

Greece lies in a highly seismically active region. The vast majority of earthquakes cause no damage or injuries.

Last October, an earthquake that struck the eastern Greek Aegean island of Samos and the nearby Turkish coast killed two people on Samos and at least 75 people in Turkey.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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