A magnitude 6.3 earthquake off the western coast of Turkey and between the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chinos shook buildings from the Aegean Turkish province of Izmir to Greece’s capital of Athens on Monday.
The epicentre of the quake was about 84 kilometres northwest of the Turkish coastal city of Izmir, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said on its website.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in either Turkey or Greece, according to preliminary information from local authorities, although the quake was felt as far away as the Greek capital of Athens.
Authorities in Lesbos said dozens of homes were damaged in parts of the island and some roads were closed. At least 10 people were injured in the village of Vrisa, Greek authorities said.
“We are advising residents in affected areas of Lesbos to remain outdoors until buildings can be inspected,” senior seismologist Efthimios Lekkas said.
Turkey’s emergency management agency said there were no reports of casualties and has dispatched emergency and health teams, and 240 family tents to the area as a precaution.
“The trembling was really bad. Everything in my clinic started shaking wildly, we all ran outside with the patients,” said Didem Eris, a 50-year-old dentist in Izmir’s Karsiyaka district. “We are very used to earthquakes as people of Izmir but this one was different. I thought to myself that this time we were going to die.”
Social media users who said they were in western Turkey reported a strong and sustained tremor.
“We will be seeing the aftershocks of this in the coming hours, days and weeks,” said Haluk Ozener, head of Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory, noting that the aftershocks could have magnitudes of up to 5.5.
Major geological fault lines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are almost a daily occurence.
More than 600 people died in October 2011 in the eastern province of Van after a quake of 7.2 magnitude and powerful aftershocks. In 1999, two massive earthquakes killed about 20,000 people in the densely populated northwest.