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1999 Athens earthquake

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Magnitude  6.0 Mw
Epicenter  38.11N 23.60E
Peak acceleration  0.6 g
Depth  10 km
Areas affected  Greece
Date  7 September 1999
1999 Athens earthquake Survivors of 1999 Athens Earthquake Still Living in Prefab Homes
Casualties  143 dead 2,000 injured 50,000 homeless 53,000+ buildings damaged or destroyed
Similar  2014 Aegean Sea Earth, 365 Crete earthquake, 1999 İzmit earthquake, 2008 Peloponnese earthquake, 1953 Ionian earthquake

The 1999 Athens earthquake, registering a moment magnitude of 6.0, occurred on September 7 at 2:56:50 pm local time and lasted approximately 15 seconds in Ano Liosia. The tremor was epicentered approximately 17 km to the northwest of the city center, in a sparsely populated area between the working-class town of Acharnes and the Mount Parnitha National Park. This proximity to the Athens Metropolitan Area resulted in widespread structural damage, mainly to the nearby towns of Ano Liossia, Acharnes, Fyli and Thrakomakedones as well as to the northern Athenian suburbs of Kifissia, Metamorfosi, Kamatero and Nea Philadelphia. More than 100 buildings (including three major factories) across those areas collapsed trapping scores of victims under their rubble while dozens more were severely damaged. Overall, 143 people lost their lives and more than 2,000 were treated for injuries in what eventually became Greece's deadliest natural disaster in almost half a century. This event took Greek seismologists by surprise as it came from a previously unknown fault, originating in an area that was for a long time considered of a particularly low seismicity. The highest recorded peak ground acceleration was 0.3g, at 15 km from the epicentre, with attenuation predicting 0.6g acceleration at the centre.


1999 Athens earthquake 1999 Athens Earthquake The RMS Blog


The 1999 quake was the most devastating and costly natural disaster to hit the country in nearly 20 years. The last major earthquake to hit Athens took place on February 24, 1981, near the Alkyonides Islands of the Corinthian Gulf, some 87 km to the west of the Greek capital. Registering a moment magnitude of 6.7, the 1981 earthquake had resulted in the deaths of 20 people and considerable and widespread structural damage in the city of Corinth, nearby towns and sections of Athens' western suburbs.

1999 Athens earthquake Athens gemecd

Apart from the proximity of the epicenter to the Athens Metropolitan Area, this quake also featured a very shallow hypocenter combined with unusually high ground accelerations. Unexpectedly heavy damage also affected the town of Adames. The tangible loss was estimated at about 3 billion US dollars. No significant structural damage was reported to the municipality of Athens and the southern and eastern suburbs of the city. The Acropolis of Athens and the rest of the city's famous ancient monuments escaped the disaster either totally unharmed or suffering only minor damage. A landslide as well as several fissures were reported along the road leading to the peak of Mount Parnitha. Minor damage was also reported to water and waste networks close to the epicenter.

Turkish aidEdit

1999 Athens earthquake Athens gemecd

The tremor took place less than a month after a (much larger in scale) Turkish disaster. This peculiar succession of earthquakes and mutual help of both countries gave rise to talks about what became known as the "Greek-Turkish earthquake diplomacy", in hopes for a breakthrough in bilateral relations, which had been marred by decades of mutual hostility. Turkey reciprocated the aid rendered by Greece immediately following the August 17, 1999 Turkish earthquake. A special taskforce was formed, consisting of the Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry, the Turkish Armed Forces, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Internal Affairs and the Greek Embassy in Ankara was contacted. The Turkish aid was the first to arrive in the affected areas, with the first 20-person rescue team arriving in Athens within 13 hours after the earthquake struck. The Greek consulates and the embassy in Turkey had their phone lines jammed with Turkish citizens offering blood donations.

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