A 5.1 magnitude tremor that occurred on July 19 sent Athenians running out to the streets for safety. No fatalities nor serious injuries were registered.

 The earthquake lasted for 15 seconds and caused a power outage and several phone networks to lose service.

Experts recorded several aftershocks, the strongest having a magnitude of 4.3, which occurred an hour after the initial quake happened at 11:13 GMT.

The shake was particularly intense in the center of Athens.

Intense earthquake

The wall plasters of a chief ‘prosecutor’s office in Athens fell off, while cracks were seen in the parliament building that was almost 170 years old.

Reports from local media revealed that the fire service received over 70 calls and rescued more than a dozen people trapped in elevators due to the power outage.

A pregnant woman was rushed to the hospital after another tourist accidentally elbowed her as they were all rushing to get out from the Archaeological Museum.

Collapsing plasters reportedly hurt three people.

Based on Greek media, an abandoned building and an old house collapsed following the shake. Some other building damages were reported, including the Agia Irini church where some pieces of marbles have fallen.

A resident said the tremor was intense, while another said it felt like an explosion and it caused fear to a lot of people.

According to the head of the agency for earthquake protection, the buildings in Athens are sturdy enough to withstand earthquakes.

The tremor felt on Friday was the first quake with such intensity to hit the city since 1999, when a magnitude six tremor took the lives of 143 people and damaged thousands of buildings.

Earthquake safety

Geologist Professor Iain Stewart, who works as a professor at the University of Plymouth, said that the city lies on several fault lines.

Before Athens was hit by 1999 earthquake, it was not prone to the natural calamity, but according to Stewart, being hit by an earthquake increases the hazard in the area.

Prof Steward said earthquakes with 5.1 magnitude are unlikely to cause severe damage, but if it’s at 6.3 magnitude and above, buildings are likely to collapse.

Athens stands on a solid ground, which means there is little possibility that an earthquake can damage the thousand-year-old monuments in the city.

The geologist believes that the ancient Greeks deliberately chose the area above the fault lines as the site for Athens because of the abundance of natural springs in the place. Earthquakes may also have a significance to the culture of ancient Greeks.

Prof Stewart revealed that the islands of Crete, Kefalonia, and Rhodes are more prone to earthquakes. Two years ago, a 6.7 magnitude quake struck the famous Kos island resulting to the death of two people.