Earthquake rattles Greece, Turkey

By Demetris Nellas

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, May 24 2014 9:22 a.m. MDT

THESSALONIKI, Greece — An earthquake beneath the sea shook northern Greece and western Turkey Saturday, with more than two dozen injuries reported on a Turkish island.

In Istanbul and in other parts of Turkey residents fled homes in panic after the quake struck at midday.

The private Dogan news agency said the temblor caused damage to some old houses on the island of Gokceada, off Turkey's northern Aegean coast, and 30 people were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The quake struck at 12:25 p.m. local (0925 GMT) southwest of the Greek island of Samothraki, 210 kilometers (130 miles) east of Thessaloniki and 296 kilometers (185 miles) northeast of the capital Athens. It was also close to the Turkish island of Gokceada and the Greek island of Lemnos. .

A duty officer at the Lemnos police precinct said a female British tourist was slightly injured at the airport when part of the ceiling fell, but she was treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization. No other damage or injuries had been reported.

The Institute of Geophysics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki said the temblor announced a magnitude of 6.3; the U.S. Geological Survey initially reported a magnitude of 6.4, later revised to 6.9.

There were divergences as to the depth, as well. The USGS reported a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles) but the Athens Geodynamics Institute has reported 27 kilometers (17 miles).

The temblor was widely felt, including in Thessaloniki, the west coast of Turkey and as far away as Bulgaria and Istanbul. Several strong aftershocks, of yet undetermined magnitude, have taken place.

"The earthquake has occurred in an area with especially high seismic activity, which, in the past, has given earthquakes up to 7 magnitude (in 1982)," Manolis Skordilis of the Institute of Geophysics told The Associated Press. "We are currently analyzing the aftershocks and are on alert," he added.

Nellas reported from Athens. Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Elena Becatoros in Athens, contributed to this report.

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