Earthquakes rattle Greek island, southern Iran

Earthquakes rattle Greek island, southern Iran

Strong temblor hits Greek isle of Kefalonia just one week after previous one, another flattens buildings in Iran's Goharan

Iranians search the ruins of buildings after an earthquake in northwestern Iran, August 2012. (photo credit: AP/ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)
Iranians search the ruins of buildings after an earthquake in northwestern Iran, August 2012. (photo credit: AP/ISNA, Arash Khamoushi)

ATHENS, Greece — A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of between 5.7 and 6.1 hit the western Greek island of Kefalonia on Monday, just over a week after a similar quake damaged dozens of buildings across the island.

Kefalonia Mayor Alexandros Parisis told Greek radio that the port at the town of Lixouri, the closest to the epicenter, had been seriously damaged and that minor injuries had been reported. He did not immediately have any further details.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute registered the pre-dawn quake, which struck just after 5 a.m. local time with a magnitude of 5.7 and an epicenter 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northwest of the island’s capital of Argostoli. The Athens institute had initially registered 5.9. The US Geological Survey registered a 6.1-magnitude. It is common for institutes to register different figures and to revise their initial measurements.

Earthquakes have been rattling the island constantly for the past week, after a 5.9-magnitude temblor struck the area on January 26. Since then, thousands of residents have been spending nights with relatives or in ships sent for that reason.

Monday’s quake was felt on the nearby island of Zakinthos and parts of the western Greek mainland as well as in the Greek capital, Athens.

Kefalonia’s mayor and seismologists urged people on the island to leave their houses temporarily. Parisis said he was trying to arrange a boat to head to Lixouri, but was being hampered by high winds in the area. Lixouri, which has been closest to the epicenter of the quakes over the last week, is far from the main town of Argostoli by road but close by sea.

Kefalonia and neighboring Zakinthos were devastated in 1953, when a 7.2-magnitude temblor struck three days after a 6.4 one, killing hundreds, injuring thousands and destroying nearly all the buildings on the islands.

Iranian state TV says a magnitude 5.5 earthquake has jolted a sparsely populated area in the country’s south.

The report said the quake hit Sunday evening in the district of Goharan, about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of the capital Tehran. It says many buildings were damaged and that rescue workers were on the scene.

The quake affected cellular phone coverage in the region with a population of 15,000 in nearly 80 villages. No casualties are reported so far.

Iran sits on a series of seismic fault lines and experiences one slight quake a day on average.

In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern Iranian city of Bam.

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