Expert Warns of Potential 8.5 Magnitude Earthquake in Greece Based on Historical Evidence

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Professor Kostas Synolakis, an expert in natural disasters, has warned of the possibility of a powerful 8.5 magnitude earthquake striking Greece. Speaking on the ERT program "Studio 4," he highlighted historical evidence suggesting such an event is not unprecedented and urged preparedness.

Professor Synolakis pointed to the devastating earthquake that struck western Crete in 365 AD as a stark reminder of the region's seismic vulnerability. Evidence of this quake's power can be found in the Archaeological Museum of Chania and along Crete's coastline.

"If you visit the Archaeological Museum of Chania, you'll find an exhibit detailing the massive earthquake that hit western Crete in 365 AD," he explained. "This earthquake is known to us through descriptions… It was then that Alexandria, a global center of Greek culture, vanished. It was completely destroyed by a colossal tsunami triggered by the earthquake."

The professor highlighted the tectonic uplift as further evidence of the quake's strength. "In western Crete, you can observe places like Falasarna, with its stunning natural beach, where an ancient harbor now sits eight meters above sea level. In Sfakia, the old coastline is visible two meters above the current sea level. These are clear indications of the land being thrust upwards."

When asked about the likelihood of another earthquake reaching 8.5 on the Richter scale, Professor Synolakis confirmed the possibility. He explained that geologists estimate earthquake magnitudes based on observed tectonic shifts and displacements. In the case of the 365 AD event, the evidence suggests a magnitude around 8.5.

"It's a recorded statistic because it happened before," stated Professor Synolakis. "It's an indication, not a prediction. The fact that it has happened before indicates that it can happen again." He emphasized the importance of preparedness, stating, "At some point, we will experience a major earthquake in the Greek arc. The crucial question is how prepared we are for it."

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